We’re Punching Nazis and Taking Names

On The Establishment, I found an interesting piece titled “Why Punching Nazis Is Not Only Ethical But Imperative.” (Disclaimer: I’m not encouraging violence, I’m just relaying the message of the article). The writer says that nazism is the anti-matter of democracy; that is, it is not simply a matter of differing opinions but rather restricting human rights and threatening death upon minorities. The writer goes on to talk about the rampant 4chan users that often idolize nazis due to the pressure they feel because their male whiteness is no longer a guarantee for success. They put up fronts and pretend that they are unfeeling, indestructible. The writer claims that by being punched, Richard Spencer’s facade has been cracked and he can longer pretend to be unshakeable. He, and the rest of his nazi followers, can no longer get away with their hate speech. People are ready to crack nazism, even if it means they have to crack a nazi’s jaw first.

Bitch Media’s article “A Square Peg At The Roundtable” (subtitled: On Jessica Williams and Why Black Women Are Not Here to Save You) was an interesting read on the experience of black, queer feminists. At a Sundance dinner, Jessica Williams engaged in a debate between Salma Hayek and Shirley MacLaine about the Trump administration. Williams brought up a good point about how being a person of color or someone who is part of the LGBT+ community means that you are forced to deal with a different set of burdens. Both of the other women dismissed her, trivializing it down to her victimizing herself. Williams says that she feels “like being a Black woman is cast aside.” I think this article brought up a lot of good points about how black women’s struggles are often ignored and swept under the rug by white feminism and how black women are always put in the role of teacher where they have to coddle those that refuse to understand. The message that I took from this article was that we need to come together and support women for all that they are and represent them as whole people and not the pieces that we pick and choose to care about.

I think both of these websites cover a grander idea of feminism that doesn’t ignore women who aren’t cis, white, and straight. Both of these articles I discussed are more serious and politically/socially aware. I think the audiences are similar but the first one seems to be more a broad audience while the second seems more geared towards white feminists. The writing style of the first reminded me of a research essay while the second was more of a typical article format.

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5 thoughts on “We’re Punching Nazis and Taking Names

  1. The bit about punching nazis is interesting. I think that everybody that I’ve ever met would go back in time and punch confirmed nazis during the Holocaust, but now, it seems like the word may be being overused and over-diagnosed. I notice in the media that both the left and the right throw words like “fascists” and “nazis” and “communists” around in a very exaggeratory manner, and if we all start taking this literally and believing it’s ethical to punch people because they have a label attached to them; a label that may or may not be accurate, it would be chaos. If no violence has been committed by the so called nazis, then their ideas should be so absurd that we can engage them in a public forum of logic based discussion and win. Violence is never the answer against words in my opinion.

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    1. I understand the hesitance to condone violence, but Nazism is specifically designed to take root in liberal societies where free speech is valued as a moral precept. Nazis support free speech insofar as it allows them to spread their message, gain followers and support, and take over the machinery of the state to carry out their genocidal aims. Their “tolerance” is a false one, as becomes obvious when they turn around and do much more than punch those who even show signs of opposing them. They will not give their targets the benefit of the doubt, but given the opportunity, will exterminate us like animals. Tolerance is not a moral precept, but a peace treaty mutually agreed to between different parties. Nazi ideology is a violation of that peace treaty, and active resistance to the point of violence is necessary self defense against an enemy that holds no qualms about killing once in power. As for determining who is and is not a Nazi, one simply needs to listen to the rhetoric used. If you want to see what these people really think when they aren’t bound by the watchful eye of a camera, go to 4chan (especially /pol/) and take a look. This is our enemy, and if we wait for the killing to start it will be too late.

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  2. Hey, so after reading your post I read the Bitch Media article “A Square Peg At The Roundtable” as well. I completely agree with you that black women’s struggles are swept under the rug by white feminism. In another women’s studies class I learned that feminist theory is dominated by white, highly educated women. Therefore, it’s hard for these women to see the differences that women of color face. This is not an excuse, just something I found very interesting, because obviously being white in this Western society is the “normal.” It’s the majority, not the minority. So, I think there needs to be more diversity among feminist theorists, because without that diversity, it will stay mainstream. Going back to the first sentence of the article, “There are some experiences that non-Black, non-LGBTQ women of color—even the ones who identify as feminists—just don’t understand” and it’s so true. Again, we need diversity in order to form new theories, not the mainstream theorists writing the same thing with different words.

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  3. I went on and I read the Nazi article. While it is amusing and almost justifiable to think that it is ethical to hit someone because of their beliefs, I find this to be incredibly dangerous logic. While most people can agree that Nazism is hateful, dangerous and empirically wrong, others may feel the same way about the feminist movement or about the LGBTQ rights movements. If we go out and start punching people that we disagree with it not only discredits our own movements, but it also gives license to more violence. By saying that this person is morally corrupt, therefore it is ok to incite violence on them, we are allowing the ability to make the argument that being gay or trans is inherently wrong and immoral and that the left deserves to be punched for advancing the “gay agenda”. This country was founded on civil discourse, and with this sort of logic we could see a breakdown of this, making it difficult to achieve legal and social justice. I truly feel as though there is a better way to fight Nazis that does not include violence.

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    1. I can understand why it seems like violence is a slippery slope that begets more violence, but I think that it is important to note that fascism is a form of violence. It is not simply just a set of beliefs, but practices. Practices that have been implemented and documented before. Hitler’s Germany saw to the murder of millions, and his platform was one of a man who wanted to return Germany to its former glory pre-WWI. This somewhat mirrors the social climate of America pre/post-election; Trump was used as a springboard to help with the reemergence of fascism as a topic in mainstream media. With individuals like Richard Spencer and a number of alt-right leaders, their only goal is the extermination or uprooting of anyone who is not cis, white, or straight. The feminist and LGBTQ+ movements only sought to reinforce and assert the humanity of marginalized people. I think we should take care to not conflate Nazism as a movement to feminist/LGBTQ+ movements because of their shared history, specifically how Nazis targeted and persecuted homosexuals. I think a nonviolence and civil discourse are only useful to those who are not fearful of both their lives and the safety of their communities.

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