Don't Punch Nazis

Punch a Nazi who’s attacking Muslims or firebombing a church. Don’t punch a Nazi who says terrible things on a public street.

Losing the right to bodily integrity because of your opinions is the logic of authoritarian societies, whether fascist, theocratic or patriarchal. It’s Assad’s logic, who imprisoned and tortured my Syrian friend for 89 days because of the contents of his diary.

Free speech is the foundation of a free society. That means free speech for everyone, even assholes like Richard Spencer. Terrible people saying terrible things is the cost of a free society in which they can’t do terrible things. I’m free to tell Richard Spencer that I hope he dies in a fire. He’s free to tell me to get in the oven. We’re not free to light matches.

I wanted to reach out and smack someone after the election myself. Normalizing violent response to speech is bad strategy as protesters under Trump. #punchanazi is a failure of imagination in politics - like a toddler too angry to use words. Here are things to do instead of punching Richard Spencer or other Nazis:
  • Shout them down. Surround him with hundreds of chanting people so he can’t be heard. We are good at chants.
  • Troll them. Follow him with a crowd of goose-stepping Hitler impersonators. Buy ads in Twitter feeds of his followers.
  • Bring their fears to life. Host an interracial dance party during his interview & serve matzoh ball soup.
  • Help each other. Organize mutual aid self-defense trainings for vulnerable people, like a Cryptoparty for the real world.
  • Make your presence known. Start anti-racist neighborhood watch groups with minority communities.
  • Donate wisely. Support the Southern Poverty Law Center & others who do the long, slow work of fighting hate groups, not the latest Antifa highlight film.

If you still have repressed aggression after all that hard work, find a mosh pit & dive in. That’s why punks invented them. Even Richard Spencer’s own hometown got rid of Nazis without punching them.

So the moral is: “Be violent in self-defense against violence, but never to silence”. #dontpunchnazis
Anti-racist Neighborhood Watch