[Author’s Note: For the second time this week, I’m publishing a post that is a formal response to a comment that someone left on my Facebook wall. I believe these sort of micro-scale interactions with others are a necessary step moving forward in the fight against fascism, and I’m going to include the comment that this person left so that you, the reader, can understand the brief argument I give for why violence — carefully considered and escalated rationally — is justified against actual Nazis. More of us should be punching Nazis.]
“Don, you probably don’t remember me, but we went to Boys Nation together. You will probably delete me after this. I’ve been following your comments since the election because I’m genuinely interested if your thoughts. With that being said, I’m concerned with this post. I don’t believe violence is the answer. Please don’t get too consumed with the current political environment whereby it ultimately destroys your humanity. A universal sense of humanity and understanding is the only thing that can bring our nation together.”
Hi, ******. I remember you. Boys Nation was a formative week in my life. A lot of opportunities opened up for me because of it that I’d have never had otherwise so I remember most of the folks who went to the camp.
I would almost universally describe myself as a pacifist. Rational dialectics are the foundation of my entire worldview. However, you can not reason with fascists. That is the history of 20th century European politics. They are a cancer that infects the body politic and systematically dismantles democracy itself. Once they are given a national platform, they spread and spread until they have total control. Reasoning with Nazis didn’t defeat fascism in World War II. Force did.
And if force is the only thing that stops Nazis, then it must be on the table when you are fighting literal Nazis. A White Nationalist killed Muslims in a mosque in Canada. He was inspired by the words of neo-nazis like Milo, Richard Spencer, and Steve Bannon. Giving Nazis a platform leads to death. Sometimes the number of deaths is small. And sometimes it’s the Holocaust.
And notice that I said [in my original Facebook post] lethal violence is a deontological right of marginalized groups to fight fascism. I didn’t say it was precisely the right call now. I’m a moral consequentialist. We haven’t gotten to the point where that escalation of violence with white nationalist’s is required. But, small scale, resistive force like what’s happening at Berkeley is absolutely acceptable to let Nazis know that they are not welcome and we will defend ourselves from them.
Also, please note that the only violence I’ve talked about here has been directly targeted to actual fascists. I never mentioned conservatives or Republicans or libertarians or liberals or neo-liberals. Only people who are so fundamentally committed to denying my humanity as a queer person and as a Jewish person that they are organizing for and recruiting towards and committing acts of extreme violence against people like me and other marginalized peoples. I make no apologies for saying that they are a menace that must be exterminated through one mean or another. The mean depends upon how much we allow their platform to grow.