Punching Nazis, and practicing resistance

Written By: - Date published: 12:40 pm, January 27th, 2017 - 186 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, activism, capitalism, class war, us politics - Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been sitting for a few days trying to figure out what I think about punching Nazis and applauding punching Nazis, as a form of resistance. The act spoke for itself in obvious ways, and yet the glee with which the anti-fascists danced around the internet putting the video to song left me discomforted, as did the inevitable stand-off between liberals and radicals about what’s ok. As a middle aged woman with a disability, I couldn’t help but imagine Nazis punching back, not at those punching them but at those further down the food chain (because that’s how it works in the patriarchy). Do we risk legitimising that, or is the choice to commit now to the downfall of the system despite the collateral damage that will entail? What’s a radical liberal to do in such a time?

Mostly I’m getting sick of the act/react/react to the react pattern that I’m seeing become the default response. We already have two sides locked in mortal embrace, let’s not pile in behind them. Then anti-poverty writer and activist Linda Tirado finally nailed it for me, bringing in another degree of social intelligence and because she steps neatly out of that mortal embrace and reminds us to be human while we resist. She said,

Which is to say: punch a fucking nazi. But never glory in someone’s pain. Don’t participate in public rituals of humiliation with joy.

This is part of a twitter thread on what is happening with the new Administration in the US. The thread is a manifesto on resisting fascism and much of it is applicable to NZ. We don’t have Tr*mpville here, but the point about NZ is we don’t need it. Why go to all the trouble of a dystopian totalitarian take-over when you can put a smiling assassin in charge of a rockstar economy and hand it to the proto-fascists on a plate?

So please read Tirado’s words with NZ in mind too. For those of us watching the US and knowing this isn’t theoretical, what is it that we need to be doing here? I will be working hard this year to help change the government, but I’m also working towards future-proofing NZ in case we don’t achieve that. And beyond all that, there is, always, the confluence of climate change and peak oil with the changes happening politically and economically. Much of what Tirado says applies to us all irrespective of who is in government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

186 comments on “Punching Nazis, and practicing resistance”

  1. Peter ChCh 1

    I have read the posts of Tirado above three times. She is an idiot who clearly makes no sense.

    • simbit 1.1

      Aue, t’all resonated with moir. Did you use to own Pete’s Food Bar on Victoria St.?!

      • Peter ChCh 1.1.1

        No. But those coffee shops down there must be making a killing these days. Very popular spot.

        • simbit 1.1.1.1

          Ha, popular by default. Stupid road really, very busy and not enough parking. Was better when I could get a pottle of chips for a dollar at Pete’s Food bar on my way home…

    • ‘ a 2010 study published in Science magazine determined that Neanderthal DNA is 99.7 percent identical to modern human DNA (a chimp’s is 99.8 percent identical).’

      We have a long , long way to go….

  2. simbit 2

    Indigenous Peoples have been doing this for centuries.

  3. HDCAFriendlyTroll 4

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/is-it-ok-to-punch-nazi-cracked-pointcounterpoint/

    From the comments:

    “What a disturbingly lighthearted conversation over whether political violence is okay! Let’s change that. When you’re thinking about this issue, instead of imagining that someone with views that offend us is getting punched, imagine that the person attacking him walked up to him and shot him in the head. That he was in the middle of talking, and all of a sudden you saw a handgun pop up next to his skull, *click*, *BOOM*, little shards of bloody skull and brain chunk hitting the camera lens.

    Take this seriously. This is not the first time someone has said that if we label a person something bad enough, it’s okay to respond to words with violence. None of your arguments depend on the violence being nonlethal. “It’s okay because movie heroes do it?” I can find more modern examples of heroic Nazi shooting than I can heroic Nazi punching. “We did it in World War 2?” Yeah, but we didn’t just punch them in World War 2. “Watching violence against someone I’m trying to portray myself as different from gives me a perverted sense of satisfaction?” Does it change if the violence is gory?

    Because this has happened before, in our society and others. During the Red Scare, we substituted “Nazi” with “Communist.” During the Salem Witch Trials, we substituted “Nazi” with “witch.” Our society and others have done the same with pedophiles, gypsies, Jews, Tutsi, the list goes on. The Nazis themselves held the same views about Jews as you do about Nazis: they thought that their views were so repellent, so horrifying, that good and decent people were okay to physically harm them rather than ideologically oppose them. The message is always the same: “these people are so horrible, the only decent response is violence. But we’re not bad people, because we only approve of violence against REALLY bad people.”

    Then, of course, comes the expansion of the definition of what a Nazi is. Someone who kills Jews? Someone who doesn’t, but merely approves of it? Someone who doesn’t, but merely falls on the other side of the political aisle? Anyone we want to legitimize violence against? Again, this isn’t the first time this has happened.

    So, the next time you’re trying to justify political violence, sure, watch your memes. But imagine the guy isn’t getting punched; imagine he’s getting his head blown off. Or, better yet, watch a video of someone from the 1994 Rwandan genocide waving a machete and screaming about the righteous massacre of the Tutsis (who they believed were okay to kill because they supported evil people), and give some serious reflection to how similar you are to that person.”

    • Skeptic 4.1

      Sorry mate, but you’ve entirely missed the point about Nazis and Nazism. This isn’t a simple case of labels, nor is it about perpetration of violence, nor yet about disagreement on political views. You’ve forgotten your history. Nazism and the Nazis earned a particularly evil place in the history of the planet. Yes, you can find innumerable instances of bloodier leaders (Genghis Khan & Pol Pot) and more homicidal regimes (Mao & Stalin). You are just like Neville Chamberlain when you preach acceptance of their views as legitimate – they are not legitimate and NZ and the allies fought a war to determine just that – we held the Nuremberg trials to determine legally just that. Nazism is a particular evil that should be resisted anywhere and everywhere it rears its ugly head. What they did determined their evil – organised, industrialized mass murder on a scale unknown previously. Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists are the modern day manifestation of this evil. Punching them out is not only acceptable – it’s the duty of every person determined not to let history be forgotten – ever. They need to be reminded of the fifth that they are, and what crimes they represent, every time they open their mouths. Excusing them and “making allowance for them” has no place in the 21st century.

      • HDCAFriendlyTroll 4.1.1

        Then I’d like to change the title of this thread to ““Punching Commies, and practicing resistance”. After all if you want to look at homicidal regimes look at communism.

        • Skeptic 4.1.1.1

          Why? – the article is about Punching Nazis – nothing to do with Communists – they’re irrelevant. It is about resistance to Nazism and Nazi style ultra-right-wing regimes (including the current entry level regime in the USA). What everyone is trying to tell you – and you appear to be having difficulty understanding – is the Nazis and Nazism are a special evil to be resisted “by all means necessary” up to and including all methods used the last time the bastards were defeated. You cannot equate Nazism with anything else – that fact was recognized by everyone after the Nuremberg Trials – so don’t waste other people’s time with irrelevancies. The article is about resistance to Nazism – pure and simple – and asked the question is that resistance justified. My opinion (and it’s just my own, but it is apparently shared by many, many others) is that all Nazis need to have their DNA removed from the human gene pool.

  4. …I couldn’t help but imagine Nazis punching back…

    That’s the thing – Nazis are pretty good at punching. Communists and Nazis did a lot of punching each other in Germany at the beginning of the 1930s, and the net result was the voters were happy to get a government that would re-impose order, even if that government was the Nazis. Bashing people you hate might feel good but comes with some hefty downsides if enough people start doing it.

  5. They punch you even if you don’t punch back – if you punch them first it is another excuse, on top of all of their other ones, to punch back harder or again. They will always punch those they consider weaker because they are bullies and they want to get away with it.

    They punch – that is what they do.
    Punching first or back or harder does not influence what they do (in terms of their punching or not) but it may influence how they do it – in private, in secret, as part of a group, ganging up and so on
    If you don’t punch them they think they are allowed to do what they want including punching others.

    because of all that I say punch a nazi every time

    • weka 6.1

      I agree with much of that, and I can’t say I have too much of a problem with the original punch. But enjoying the punching of humans is a problem for me. I think the internet reaction to the punch points to a problem that progressives have separate to Nazis, and I’m not sure we’ve gotten to that conversation yet.

      Maybe Nazis are getting punched because too many liberals are not stepping up in other ways.

      • marty mars 6.1.1

        I agree that enjoyment of that violence is too much. Is it like tarantino and inglorious bastards – a release, a taboo, cathartic.

        I also agree that there has not been much stepping up and therefore ‘last-er resorts’ come into play like punching.

  6. james 7

    Upshot – Violence is not the answer.

    “Which is to say: punch a fucking nazi. But never glory in someone’s pain. Don’t participate in public rituals of humiliation with joy.”

    Punching someone in the head because you find their views reprehensible – is not OK.

    Remember how most of us lead our lives – there is always someone out there that finds what we are doing reprehensible also (dosnt make them right BTW – Im just saying that different people have different views). Is it OK for them to hit us?

    Some people find it disgusting how women dress – punch a woman in the head?
    Some people are very anti gay – punch a gay person in the head?
    Some people deplore people drinking – punch people in the head for having a wine?

    Then we get more granular – when does it stop – Im views are different to a lot of people on here – does that mean I deserve to get punched in the head?

    Of course I disagree with you also – so can I punch you?

    • weka 7.1

      The bit missing from your analysis is the people already getting punched by Nazis i.e. the long history of violence from fascists that comes from before this punch. Spencer got punched* not because he has reprehensible views, but because he does reprehensible acts that are violent against other people. That is the difference. If you want to argue pacifism in the face of violence, I’d be interested to see that done in this context.

      *most likely, I haven’t seen anything from the guy that punched him about his motivations.

      • Brutus Iscariot 7.1.1

        According to my brief internet research i can’t find any evidence of your statement re: Spencer’s violence.

    • AB 7.2

      It’s not about mere disagreements.
      Violence might be justified when someone’s views present real and existential dangers to others and they have the intention and means to impose those views.

      Existential danger is a serious hurdle to this justification. I don’t punch lazy, callous, unimaginative National voters just because they want a tax cut. Because those views don’t to my mind constitute an existential danger to anyone – yet. The day may come of course when they do – and the terrible dilemmas that arise under those circumstances are what we need to avoid.

      • KJT 7.2.1

        The “would you assassinate Hitler” argument.

        Well yes, if I had the chance. Because I have full knowledge of what he did. But I would still be morally wrong.

        What about a NZ Government that has blighted the lives of 100’s of thousands of New Zealanders?

        Would it have been morally right to assassinate Douglas and Prebble. If we had foreknowledge of were their actions would lead.
        Ruth Richardson? Paula Bennett?
        What about the people who voted for them?

        No. I am still against “punching them”, satisfying as it would be!

        Violent revolutions always result in escalating violence and unintended consequences.

        Vote them out, Give them a fair trial and, if/when found guilty, put them in jail.
        Time politicians were held to the same standards of responsibility as the rest of us.

        But leave the violence for those that have hit you first.

        • weka 7.2.1.1

          Except neoliberal politicians have punched first. People experience intentional institutional violence from the govt everyday. I don’t think that is bad enough violence to ‘punch back’ but I also understand we are walking an edge there that we weren’t 30 years ago (hence the Ashburton shooting and similar events).

          I don’t think killing Prebble or Douglas would have stopped what happened to NZ, nor do I think that what we have experienced here is close enough to the Holocaust for the comparison to be useful. Would killing Hitler have stopped the Holocaust?

          • Psycho Milt 7.2.1.1.1

            People experience intentional institutional violence from the govt everyday.

            If you’ve ever been punched, the difference between metaphorical violence and actual physical violence becomes immediately and viscerally clear. Give me metaphorical violence any day of the week.

            • weka 7.2.1.1.1.1

              And if you’ve ever been subjected to direct institutional violence you will know that it’s not metaphorical. It’s literal. I agree there are big differences between that and direct physical violence. Which is worse is going to depend on the context.

            • ropata 7.2.1.1.1.2

              I would rather get punched in the face than get 50 grand taken off me by the government

          • KJT 7.2.1.1.2

            Well. Is it self defense. Or defending someone close to you. Both moral reasons for violence.

            I note that Mr George thinks that no one has done enough harm in the NZ political sphere to justify violence. He obviously does not live in Northland.

            I could never be a politician. Despite my intellectual aversion to violence, I do not think I could restrain myself from wiping the smirk off some of their entitled smug faces.

            Watching a WINZ person demean yet another youngster, who is simply a victim of Government policy, without resorting to “punching” them is difficult enough.

  7. Phil 8

    …trying to figure out what I think about punching Nazis and applauding punching Nazis
    My concern with this matter is a little more practical: what is the measurement standard for determining if one is or is not a Nazi?

    Someone like Richard Spencer, with his truly vile and hateful views of race and ethnicity, would seem to exceed any reasonable metric of judging Nazi-ness and my initial gut reaction is that he deserves to be punched, repeatedly.

    But, each of us is going to have a different standard for measuring Nazi-ness. Your own post hints at it by linking John Key and proto-facist. I’ve seen plenty of people on here, and other blogs, suggest everyone from John Key and Helen Clark, to George Bush and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and Tony Blair and Nigel Farage are Nazi’s.

    I have serious concerns that some deluded individual is going to think “I think Politician X is a Nazi, therefore it’s acceptable for me to punch, or shoot, or kill them” and that’s not a political opposition/resistance we should be encouraging in any way at all.

    • Phil 8.1

      #4 above linked to cracked, who summed it up far more eloquently than me
      https://thestandard.org.nz/punching-nazis-and-practicing-resistance/#comment-1292456

    • McFlock 8.2

      Yeah, but the flipside of that is “what do you do to stop real nazis getting into power?”

      It’s an issue of conscience.

      Spencer is easy, because even though he claims to not be a nazi, he’s on video saying “hail Trump” followed by the audience doing a Nazi salute (which he reciprocates while holding a glass of water), and has a rich ouvre of race-hatred online.

      I’d suggest that less clear cases lower thejustification/excuse for violence. But also I’d say that anyone prepared to do the crime should be prepared to face the repercussions – that should help ensure that a proportional measure of evidence is required.

    • weka 8.3

      “But, each of us is going to have a different standard for measuring Nazi-ness.”

      True, and you are right there is risk in that. I think one solution to that is to educate our spaces about what fascism, proto-fascism, and Nazism are. I use the first two terms in a popular meaning sense, but keep the last one for actual Nazis (or neo-Nazis) i.e. people who profess those doctrines. So Spencer clearly is a Nazi, but I wouldn’t call someone like CV a Nazi despite his support for fascism or his arguing that Hitler (briefly) made Germany great. Calling NZ politicians Nazis is stupid because they’re not, and because it clouds the issues of what is going on. I’m happy to back up my use of the term proto-fascist too, although I suspect I could be called on its use as well.

    • Richard McGrath 8.4

      Should Russian socialists (Communists) be punched as well as German socialists, given the 100 million people killed by them in the 20th century?

  8. McFlock 9

    I tend to follow the rule of thumb that sometimes, some people need to be punched – but it is never a good thing.

    This is why I try to avoid socialising with tories: they might be all amiable and good company, then they tend to say or do something that makes my fists itch.

    Nazis are easy to justify punching, like paedophiles. I won’t be overly sad if Rolf Harris gets thumped in prison, for example.

    The trouble is that if you don’t have a pretty firm line about where and when and on whom thumping is justifiable, you end up on a slippery slope.

    The interesting argument is the dividing line between “someone who disagrees with you politically” and “oh hell, no, thump that guy”. In the case of nazis it’s important to not normalise their existence. So yeah, disrupt their interviews. If that doesn’t work, hit them. And the more political power they gain despite those actions, escalate it again. Because as they’ve shown, as soon as they get a legitimate toehold they’ll expand their campaign of hate.

    Yes, that’s me advocating intolerance to the point of violence. The difference is that I’m intolerant to nazi-style organisations, because they’re intolerant of every other group in society. Not one or two groups that are particularly vile, everyone. That’s pretty much what makes them nazis. They glory in violence against inferiors, and see themselves as superior to everyone else (well, overcompensate much, anyway).

    • weka 9.1

      Spot on McFlock. I love it when someone else does all the thinking and then encapsulates it so I don’t have to. Thanks for that 😎

      I would probably separate out paedophiles from Nazis, although that’s a different conversation I think.

      • McFlock 9.1.1

        yeah, I was focussing more on their similar level of social repugnance, rather any similarity in what they do. Both really bad, but in different ways.

      • AB 9.1.2

        Yeah – I think the Rolf Harris example is not quite right.
        With Nazis it’s about finding the point when pre-emptive violence against them is justified to prevent them harming others. (Doesn’t have to be only Nazis either – could be neoliberals or communists). As I said above, I think that point is when someone’s views present real and above all existential dangers to others, and they have the intention and means to impose those views

        Whereas paedophiles getting beaten up in prison is not pre-empting anything and is not making anyone safer. That’s why I regard it as just an extra bit of human rottenness added to the existing rottenness of the original paedophilia.

        • weka 9.1.2.1

          Yes, I agree with the distinction (and is the paedophile more likely or less likely to harm others again if beaten up).

        • McFlock 9.1.2.2

          Yeah but you’d still have a hard time persuading a lot of people that thumping a pedophile is a bad thing.

          Even if you managed it logically, the repugnance level is comparable between the two.

    • Carolyn_nth 9.2

      Well, I think the option to punch someone is mainly relegated to able bodied, youngish men.

      As a woman, no longer so young, with my body not as strong and flexible as it used to be, there’s no way I’d even try punching someone whose views I opposed.

      For me the issue is more, when do I stand up and argue strongly for or against something?

  9. gsays 10

    For me, the key word is punching, not nazi.

    A friend if mine had an epiphany when, while physically admonishing one of the children, with the statement: Don’t. Hit. Your. Brother.

    Punching can never be an answer.

    As for the thrill of another’s discomfort, look no further than tv, soap operas dressed up in renovation or kitchen guises.
    The net is an extension of.that.

    • I hope to fuck your friend never at any point punched one of their children.

    • weka 10.2

      Would you consider yourself a pacifist gsays?

      • gsays 10.2.1

        Hi weka, I suppose so.

        Less a claim, more an aspiration or principle.

        All violent (nazi)folk, have seen enough violence, more ain’t going to change ’em.

    • McFlock 10.3

      Punching might never be an answer, but it’s sometimes the least harmful and most efficacious way of limiting the damage a single toxic individual can do.

      But then, I worked in venue security for ten years.

  10. Sabine 11

    i post this here as a timeline of things that happened.

    this is a rough outline, it does not list all the little changes that were thrown at the German population when Hitler came to power.

    the one thing that stands out is the speed with which they – the Nazis – transformed the Country into a totalitarian regime in which children would denounce their parents for not being ‘enough’ of a Nazi, or for listening to the BBC, or for storing ‘degraded’ art.
    Or Janitors denouncing Students for throwing flyers down a Hallway in Munich Univeristy resulting in the death of these students. Etc etc etc.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_timeline_of_Nazism

    before the Elections i argued that people need to vote on domestic issues, that if they vote for someone to make something great again, or for someone who is going to ‘bring back’ jobs, or or or they need to look at all the other issues too, the small stuff, social security, health care system, education – children and adult, freedom of religion, freedom to live ones sexuality without interference, freedom to use contraception and control ones fertility, freedom to have an abortion. I was told that that is mighty white of me. That my privilege speaks and the likes.
    But really what do people think is going to happen when the US or any other Nation for that matter descends into a totalitarian tin pot dictatorship that is run by some self absorbed conman and grifter and a bunch of religiously driven fuckwits?
    Peace? Prosperity?
    Really?
    The fuck, really?

  11. Sanctuary 12

    Waaaaaaayyyy to much over-analysis going on here. The neo-fascist got clocked on camera. Good job.

  12. simbit 13

    I remember the Rodney King beating. Man, that was brutal, went on and on and on, just beating a wounded man for fun. Like Nazi’s were wont to do.

    And it was an early meme.

    The punch we’re all posting on was a pretty fuck-all punch: if you can walk away, they didn’t time or place it right.

    Anyway, I repeat my earlier claim: Indigenous Peoples have been resisting for centuries. And it involves violence though this is generally eschewed now and explicitly denounced in most modern protests.

    Still, instilling physical fear into your opponent has its uses. Timing and placement is everything …

    • weka 13.1

      What’s happening at Standing Rock is a perfect contemporary example of how violence is valued in different ways by different parts of society.

  13. Brutus Iscariot 14

    Legitimising violence in the political sphere is never something that is OK. Self-defence would be the only justifiable situation.

    Oh, and i know you’ll just say “ridding society of toxic views” is an expression of self defence, but isn’t that exactly what the Nazis argued when purging the communists etc?

    The funniest part of this is seeing all the mental gymnastics people are performing, just to conceal the fact that seeing someone they hate get hurt gives them a visceral pleasure.

    Humans are funny beings – we’re all not that different after all.

    • McFlock 14.1

      Ok, let’s look at that equivalence:

      is it normal for a communist to be a good person? Not just the extremes of stalinism/maoism or whatever the fuck the khmer rouge was, but just a plain old “bumber-sticker, read Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto and pretty much agreed with all the substantive points” communist?

      is it normal for a Nazi to be a good person?
      Not a guard or anything, just a plain old “read Mein Kampf and pretty much agreed with all the substantive points” Nazi?

      • Brutus Iscariot 14.1.1

        Nothing to do whether he’s a good person or not. It’s more that when you conflate the moral with the political, don’t expect others to refrain from doing so either.

        If you state that his very existence is offensive to you, such that random violence against him is justified – well that actually legitimises the fascist approach, and reduces politics to the rule of “might is right”/rule of the strong. Maybe next time he responds by coming back to pull an Anders Breivik – i don’t see how anyone wins out of escalation.

        Do you honestly think that violence towards a group is going to discourage their views?

        • McFlock 14.1.1.1

          If your politics is unrelated to your morality, you’re doing it wrong.

          I’m not stating that the offensiveness of his opinions justifies the violence (although it makes it easier to accept at a visceral level, hence the memes).

          I’m stating that what makes Nazis different (such that they must be resisted at all costs, albeit with the minimum force necessary to do so) is that in accepting Nazis you are necessarily accepting the elimination of all non-nazi beliefs. The danger to the rest of society of their belief system justifies any and I’d say all means to keep Nazis out of the halls of power.

          Treating Spencer with dignity and allowing him to be interviewed like a normal human being means that some people might think his views on a racially-pure state are normal. If having a protest nearby doesn’t stop the interview, then a sock to the jaw did. Not really my style, but I can’t really see too much ethically wrong with it.

          As for “discouraging their views”, they’re Nazis. They’re unlikely to be persuaded by anything. But that just leaves the anti-smoking option: make it unacceptable in polite company. “De-normalise” it. At least make it acceptable for others to call them out on their dangerous bullshit – especially the more socially-presentable ones like Spencer. Skinheads scare people. Nazis like Spencer and Goering get the support of the capitalist class.

          • weka 14.1.1.1.1

            I would add that the escalation has already been going on for some time. That’s the point. Spencer getting hit wasn’t the first punch. So the whole ‘it will escalate and then where will we be’ argument fails because it’s out of sync with what is going on on the ground.

          • Brutus Iscariot 14.1.1.1.2

            If I understand you correctly, you’re stating that Nazism can’t be tolerated as it’s a universalist ideology – therefore the only choice is to stamp it out or perish yourself. Almost true as it is actually segregationist, just on a national scale. Hence the original Nazi program to move the Jews to Madagascar.

            There’s only one true universalist ideology that’s currently operating in the 21st century, and that’s Islam.

            • McFlock 14.1.1.1.2.1

              Yeah nah. Even if it were strictly segregationist and the madagascar option was seriously considered, you can’t forcibly relocate millions of people without slaughtering thousands at the very least. Not to mention the Roma.

              And frankly, your comment comes awfully close to a David Irving-style minimization, not to mention that it seems to say muslims are worse than Nazis. Isil maybe the same flavour as Nazis or some maoist-style groups, but if we had one and a half billion Nazis in the world it would be a much shittier place.

              I don’t really care about the “Universalist” semantics. Jargon sometimes gets in the way of the fact we’re talking about freaking Nazis. Triple cheer, stiff right arm “national segregationists”. Fuckers who’d turn up late to battles because they had to stop and slaughter entire villages of innocent people. Same crowd. That’s who Spencer is the nice face for.

              • …if we had one and a half billion Nazis in the world it would be a much shittier place.

                Not really. As with Islam, only a small proportion of Nazis were true believers, the rest were just people who paid lip service because it was their national identity. Communism was as bad as fascism and we had well over a billion of those not long ago – the world wasn’t notably shittier for it, again because the overwhelming majority weren’t communists in any real sense. If there were a billion and a half actual Nazis, actual communists or actual Muslims in the world, it really would be a much shittier place, but fortunately that just doesn’t happen.

                • McFlock

                  Well, I’ll ignore the Muslim thing because we’ve previously established that we disagree on the basic premise required for discussion.

                  But going with the Nazi vs communist thing, I think that the Communist Manifesto and other Marxist works have a fundamentally different message from Mein Kampf and a variety of other foundational Nazi texts.

                  Maybe only a minority of Germans were Nazis, but the Nazi objectives were all very well labelled.

                  Now, that’s not to say that the Communist regimes were/are all good, but I think that Communist party members in 1935 had a bigger case to say “how the fuck did that happen” than even common Germans did in 1945.

                  PS pls tell trump the difference between “actual Muslims” and people he’s banning.

                  • I don’t think people whose aim is to establish a one-party state in which the party has absolute power get to say “How the fuck did that happen?” when the result turns out as you might expect, regardless of whether their stated enemy was “the bourgeoisie” or “Jews and foreigners.”

                    There is no way to tell actual Muslims from people who come from a Muslim country, for the same reason there was no way to tell an actual communist from someone who came from the USSR. Like Spencer, though, they often make themselves obvious – in Kuwait we’d see these guys with the full beard, a different headdress and a funny-looking dishdasha that ended at the ankles, and those guys were true believers. They looked at me like I was busy taking a shit on the street, and I didn’t like them either. Never punched one, though.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, at least the communist manifesto talks about bringing about a society where everyone is free to connect with each other, rather than being alienated and commodified under capitalism. Free from want and abuse, all that stuff (Frankly it lost me when it got Hegelian, although I think Marx did outstanding work identifying and demonstrating the problems caused by capitalism).

                      Nazis are all about advancing their group and treating other groups as chattels at best.

                      BTW, I’m pretty sure that saying that some of the most peaceful and exemplary religious people I’ve met aren’t “actual” Muslims would be a bit of a surprise to them. But then I’ve also read of some really nice people who at least seriously considered communism for a while.

                      I’ve never even heard of a nice Nazi. Schindler outright rejected many of the basic tenets. Rabe, maybe? Although that could be more a measure of the Rape of Nanking, rather than how good your average Nazi might be. Pretty much every other example of a good badge-wearer I can think of involved them actively subverting and sabotaging the entire “Nazi” thing. Not someone who was good at being a Nazi as well as being a good person.

                    • There were plenty of nice Nazis in Germany, who ended up asking themselves “How the fuck did that happen?” as though it were somehow surprising, much like the nice communists in the USSR. Strong leadership, conservative values, Germany first and making Germany great again were ideas that had appeal to otherwise normal people in Germany just like they have appeal to plenty of otherwise-normal people in the USA right now. Not many of those nice people who survived the war were willing to admit to having been Nazis, but the author Hans Helmut Kirst, a top bloke if ever there was one, described how he’d allowed himself to be convinced as an idealistic youth that the Nazi Party and Germany were effectively the same thing.

                      The fact that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are nice, peaceful people is irrelevant, just like the overwhelming majority of 1930s Germans being nice people was irrelevant and the nice Soviet citizens were irrelevant. The problem is the ones who aren’t.

                    • McFlock

                      Thing is, how many of those “nice nazis” read mein kampf religiously? It sold millions of copies, but most people apparently didn’t get through the full thing (it’s a bit shit).

                      It’s all very well getting carried away by a charismatic speaker or whatever, but that can happen under any group.

                      The interesting comparison you make with Soviet refugees is that the US took them in willingly. Defectors, refugees, Cuban and Vietnamese. Some spies and even terrorists came in amongst the refugees, but this didn’t affect US willingness to let them in.

                      But with Muslims it’s apparently different.

                    • Robertina

                      @Psycho Milt; I agree. The majority of people in any group are not psychopaths but are vulnerable to group-think and can be manipulated to go along with explanations or narratives that excuse their actions (or more aptly in many cases, lack of action).
                      The distinction between ‘good idea gone bad’ and ‘inherently evil ideology’ (or any other sophistry) wouldn’t mean anything to an Aboriginal Australian faced with attempted genocide, or one of the millions of peasants systematically shot in Soviet Russia.
                      And of course countless other examples.

                    • McFlock

                      The distinction between ‘good idea gone bad’ and ‘inherently evil ideology’ (or any other sophistry) wouldn’t mean anything to an Aboriginal Australian faced with attempted genocide, or one of the millions of peasants systematically shot in Soviet Russia.

                      Yeah, but that’s not the topic of discussion: why it’s okay to thump a Nazi and not a Muslim or a Communist.

                      My position, long story short, is that it is because we can all be assured that any Nazi with even basic knowledge of their political principles and history beyond “toothbrush moustaches look awesome” is not a nice person and would in fact happily see everyone with divergent views put in camps or whatever.

                      I do not believe that this applies to all Muslims or Communists, some of whom I’ve found to be very nice (or in the case of some communists, relatively inoffensive albeit noisy) people who take pains to separate themselves from those extremists of past and current events. I do believe that this applies to all nazis by virtue of the basic and extremely well-known Nazi principles.

                    • Robertina

                      Just want to clarify what I meant by group in the first sentence – it was meant in a broad sense such as nation states or religions. I was thinking about the German citizen complicity issue when I wrote that.

    • Sabine 14.2

      i am not sure it gives me a visceral pleasure.
      i am not sure it gives me any pleasure at all thinking about the violence that is currently being bred into being in the US.
      i don’t think that humiliating the press is going to help. i don’t think that cutting grants to community groups and the likes is going to help. i don’t think that rounding up people for deportation will help.
      i think that all of the above are form of violence and will hurt many many people and will hurt more then that guy ever was hurt.

      but what i can understand that if you have no weapons, and when whatever you say is shouted down with snowflake, what about syria, make america great again, but god says so, he won get over it etc etc can lead to a certain frustration, and then someone like the guy that got punched gets punched simply because he is there, he is ultimately very punchable and thats pretty much it.

      Violence begets Violence, and the Trump admin on its fifths day is meeting out violence left right and centre, and that includes not sending Fema to States that over the last weekend had storms/tornadoes that not only destroying whole neighborhoods but also killed many people.
      Doing nothing, while complaining about crowd sizes, not caring about day to day life for others is also violence, its just that he did not punch one of these poor schmucks that lost their lifely hood in the face. https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=states+beg+trump+for+help+after+tornados&oq=states+beg+trump+for+help+after+tornados&aqs=chrome..69i57.8211j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=states+beg+trump+for+help+after+tornadoes&tbm=nws

      • Brutus Iscariot 14.2.1

        If you’re going to define “violence” so broadly, then i’d argue that expropriation of property is also violence.

  14. RedLogix 15

    You are all fooling yourselves. Political violence in this age has more to do with ‘punching’ red launch buttons than neo-Nazi noses.

    Be morally prepared for this. It is soon.

  15. Steve Withers 16

    If you’re hitting someone, you’re in the wrong.

    It’s as simple as that. If you give yourself an excuse for violence, the other guy can and will do the same.

    This is old news. Amazing some people don’t get it.

  16. Sanctuary 17

    Jesus, what a bunch of namby pambies! You all sound like the giddy heights of resistance for you is pointedly refusing a second biscuit from a conservative vicar.

    Now look here. Right wing violence in the form of cruel infliction of poverty or the humiliation of having to grovel for a dime happens all the time. These right wing neo-fascist types are not playing at politics, unlike the completely useless bunch of pearl clutching pacifists here. Those assholes wouldn’t think twice about stomach punching your granny, or slashing her pension to nothing. I would happily scone any one of them on the noggin with a baseball bat. Assholes deserve it.

    • weka 17.1

      What are you on about? There’s 2 people in this thread who I would consider leftish, that have said it’s wrong to punch people, and 3 RWers. Everyone else is saying there’s a context and are talking about that. Hardly a bunch of namby pamby pacifists. I wonder if you are bothering to even read what people write, or the pos, let alone think about it.

  17. Sanctuary 18

    Oh and as for violence never working – it certainly did the trick last time the Nazis put in an appearance, why wouldn’t it work this time?

    • Well, kind of. Most of the heavy lifting was done by rival totalitarians as loathsome as the Nazis, and the outcome was victory of one group of vicious psychopaths over another. The best you can say about it is “Could have been worse.”

  18. Robertina 19

    By using a structural violence or indirect self-defence argument, people can justify anything. The twisted logic of violence is how anti-abortion zealots justify murdering doctors. After all they believe it’s in service of a justified or noble cause.
    The person I quite liked was the guy (not a supporter of Spencer) who ran after the alleged puncher to give him a good telling off.

  19. chris73 20

    I’ve got no problems with Nazis being punched but the problem as I see it is who decides if someones a Nazi

    I mean Trumps being compared to Hitler and I’m pretty sure John Keys been called a Nazi (or similar) on here at times so it seems it’d be quite easy for someone at a protest to label someone on the right a Nazi and then it could be all on

    • weka 20.1

      Do you not know what a Nazi is Chris?

      • chris73 20.1.1

        Yes but the term Nazi gets thrown about really easily. My point is if there’s a protest and there’s a counter-protester and the counter protester is holding a sign or saying something the other protesters don’t like then all it takes is for one of the protesters to label the counter-protester a Nazi and suddenly a whole bunch of people feel justified in attacking the counter-protester because its permissible to punch Nazis

        I mean if this happens because someone claims he voted for Trump: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsvHSOeYOVw
        then what would happen if someone had claimed he was a Nazi?

      • Brutus Iscariot 20.1.2

        Again I find it bizarre the rationalisation. He’s not just a normal political opponent, he’s a NAZI. No appreciation again of what you’re effectively doing – denying his humanity and ability to hold and express a view.

        He may have repugnant views, but since they align with ones practiced in Germany 75 years ago does that actually make them that much more scary and execrable than any other run-of-the-mill fringe wacko?

        I don’t actually have a problem with the punch to be honest. It was more a “piss off” kind of attack than a serious attempt at bodily harm – though who knows what could have happened away from the cameras. What has piqued my interest is the mental gymnastics being performed to excuse the incident from the normally peaceful mode of progressive politics.

        • weka 20.1.2.1

          Are you talking about Spencer? Of course it’s different than run-of-the-mill wackos. McFlock as addressed this repeatedly throughout the thread.

          “denying his humanity and ability to hold and express a view.”

          Where have I done that? Be specific.

  20. In Vino 21

    Why are you people talking about Nazis? The correct term is Fascist. Nazi applies to Germany only, and brings back all the unhelpful war-comic attitudes, the specific crimes that Nazis did. We have an ugly history of celebrating the win that the Russians had over the Nazis, giving ourselves credit for it with witless films like ‘The Dirty Dozen’ or ‘Inglorious Basterds’. I agree with those who lament the violence worshipped in such films.

    It is Fascism we must fight. Nazism applies to Hitler’s Germany. Fascism is broader and has more universal meaning. It may help the debate.

    • weka 21.1

      Spencer appears to be directly involved in modern neo-Nazi ideology and practice. I assume that’s why he’s being called a Nazi in general, it’s a shorthand. But I take your point. Fascist, or white supremacist would do too.

  21. KJT 22

    I’ve found the best reaction to Fascists is showing up how ridiculous they are.

    They prefer to be punched. It gives them an excuse.

  22. HDCAFriendlyTroll 23

    Except in the case of self-defence violence by one individual against another can never be justified. Only the State should be able to use force, for example:

    – To go to war against another country.
    – To impose the death penalty.
    – To imprison someone.
    – To arrest someone.

    etc.

    Remember never in the history of the world was it ever justified for a civilian to just go ahead and kill a Nazi for no particular reason at all, except in self-defence. Civilians aren’t soldiers.

    And even with soldiers (who represent the State) they are trained and there are rules they must follow. Otherwise they end up facing things like manslaughter charges as in the case of the IDF soldier who killed a palestinian.

    • weka 23.1

      You are conflating killing a Nazi with punching a Nazi, quite a leap there.

      • HDCAFriendlyTroll 23.1.1

        Fair enough, I’ll rephrase. Remember never in the history of the world was it ever justified for a civilian to just go ahead and punch a Nazi for no particular reason at all, except in self-defence.

  23. I find labeling people left or right or Nazi or fascist in the context of making reasons and excuses for violence, especially in a politically benign New Zealand context, more than a bit disturbing.

    Violence on political or religious or ethnic or just about any grounds, especially initiating it, should simply be condemned.

  24. DH 25

    I find it curious that the regular trolls on this site are wiping the floor with all the so-called lefties on what is a pretty simple moral issue.

    It’s ok to punch someone you don’t like? Seriously? Wtf is wrong with you people.

    • marty mars 25.1

      maybe it isn’t a simple moral issue as you suppose

      judgments on others is the cause of it all imo and although you are weeping anguish with the thought of violence, you actually perpetuate and activate it through your personal judgments on others – ironic eh.

      • DH 25.1.1

        It is a moral issue marty mars.

        It’s not about judging others, violence of the type being defended here is punishment not judgement.

        • marty mars 25.1.1.1

          and which morality are we using as the yardstick?

          that’s why I said it isn’t a simple moral issue

          our judgments determine our position on this

          there is no natural universal law around this – it is all a construct

          • DH 25.1.1.1.1

            No they don’t marty. This is a pretty simple construct really;

            Violent acts can be broken down into defense or attack. I fully support the right to defend oneself. What is being defended here is the right to attack other people who haven’t actually attacked or harmed you personally. That I disagree with, it’s why we have laws.

            • marty mars 25.1.1.1.1.1

              “I fully support the right to defend oneself. What is being defended here is the right to attack other people who haven’t actually attacked or harmed you personally.”

              If the person was attacking the person beside you, on a bus say, would you physically defend them then?

              • DH

                Assuming it genuinely was an unprovoked attack rather than defence I guess my reaction would depend on how big & capable the assailant was.

                I’d like to think I’d step in but I am aware of my own limitations and I draw the line at getting a kicking every time I see something bad happening in the world.

                • What about if the person was your child or partner or friend or father or auntie and so on. This is why I say it isn’t a simple moral issue – it is as complicated as people and that is very complicated indeed.

                  Not many people would sit there, through fear of being hurt personally, while someone they loved was being physically abused and hurt.

                  • DH

                    You’ve lost me there marty, what does that have to do with punching someone you don’t even know because they’re (allegedly) a nazi?

                    Said nazi hasn’t done anything to you or anyone you love. He was just a ‘nazi’ and people are trying to justify punching him for that.

                    Sorry mate but it is simple.

                    • I see it as a spectrum rather than discrete data points and because of that it is not a simple moral issue – in other words it is not a yes/no good/bad dichotomy.

                      You support the right to defend oneself (but I’m getting it is more to do with the law?). Nazis are a direct threat to many groups – not theoretical, not make believe – real.

                    • DH

                      I don’t see why you’re making it complicated marty.

                      If you’re attacked you have the right to defend yourself. There are occasions when attack is the best form of defence but that’s still on a one-one-one basis … if they shape up and you think they’re going to swing you might justify getting the first shot(s) in.

                      If you step in to defend someone else being attacked it will go one of two ways; the assailant will back off or they will attack you. If they back off the violence is finished with, if they attack you then it’s self defence again isn’t it.

                      Nowhere in that is there any justification for punching someone just because they happen to be or represent something you don’t like.

                    • I’m not trying to make it complicated I just think it is complicated and I’ve tried to show through analogy and example why I think it is complicated.

                    • DH

                      I guess we stop there marty, taken it as far as we can go

                      I agree it can get complicated but that still doesn’t prevent one seeing lines which aren’t that grey

                      I can recall once reading about Vidal Sassoon who was a humble hairdresser in the days of Mosley and his Blackshirts. While others thought him a bit effeminate he moonlighted as a street fighter engaging in running battles with Mosleys mob. I found myself cheering him on, my only excuse for condoning his actions being the context of it all.

                      We have, or are supposed to have, moved on from those days. There’s no more reds under the beds and there’s no more Nazis either. There’s just people some of whom are not very pleasant but who are also not irredeemable.

                    • Thanks DH – good discussion

    • Bob Jones punched a reporter. Who cheered for Bob?

      • Pete George 25.2.1

        I didn’t, I condemned it.

        That some people may have cheered a stupid act of violence in 1985 doesn’t excuse violence now – and using a stupid historic example as tacit approval of political violence now is, well, quite stupid in my opinion.

        • Robert Guyton 25.2.1.1

          ” using a stupid historic example as tacit approval of political violence now”
          Approval? How odd that you’d glean that from what I wrote. You often interpret the statements of others wrongly, Pete, from what I’ve seen of your comments.

      • DH 25.2.2

        Not me. Jones is a bully, there’s nothing funny or cheering about his form of violence.

      • HDCAFriendlyTroll 25.2.3

        I cheered for Bob but doesn’t mean I thought it was ok or that I was right to cheer for him. He shouldn’t have done it and should have faced assault charges like anyone else.

        • Morrissey 25.2.3.1

          You cheered for that rancid old lout? Shame on you, you f**ckwit.

          • HDCAFriendlyTroll 25.2.3.1.1

            You cheer for that stupid old fart Chomsky so I guess we’re even. 🙂

            • Morrissey 25.2.3.1.1.1

              Moron, suggesting that witless old lout is somehow comparable to Noam Chomsky shows that not only are we not “even”, but that you’re not even in the same league as me or anyone else on this blog.

              As for me “cheering” for Chomsky, I read him, because he is obviously the most brilliant thinker in the United States.

              You would know that, of course, if you had actually read anything by him.

              • HDCAFriendlyTroll

                Yep, Chomsky fanboy. Speaking of Chomsky didn’t
                “the most brilliant thinker in the United States” once praise the Khymer Rouge and Chavez? How’s Venezuela doing, Mo?

                We all know that your claim to fame is rivaling Penny Bright for the most down votes on kiwiblog but you don’t have to keep showing us why.

                • Morrissey

                  the most brilliant thinker in the United States” once praise the Khymer Rouge

                  No he didn’t. You clearly have not read anything by Chomsky.

                  and Chavez

                  Actually, he praised the massive grassroots community activism that led to the Chavez government being voted in with such a resounding majority. He has pointed out that this kind of movement is what the American left should be following, instead of handing over all power to the dismal and treacherous Democratic Party. But he also severely criticised Chavez on several occasions. You would know that if you had actually read anything by Chomsky.

                  How’s Venezuela doing, Mo?

                  Like other countries in Central and South America—Guatemala, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia—that have tried the outrageous course of democracy, Venezuela has been subjected to unending rhetorical warfare, attempts to diplomatically isolate it (failed), and economic assault, by the United States. In 2002 the U.S. backed a coup which was overthown in three days following massive popular demonstrations in support of the democratically elected government. Since then, the United States has funded and spoken in support of the violent right wing insurrectionists that have tried—unsuccessfully—to destroy Venezuela’s hard won democracy.

                  Considering all of this, Venezuela is doing remarkably well. But I don’t think you care. As your comments about Noam Chomsky indicate, you are neither serious nor even moderately well informed. Anybody who does care about South America’s struggles to establish democratic government might like to read the following….

                  https://zcomm.org/zblogs/most-venezuelans-have-a-blind-spot-on-their-own-country-according-to-james-bloodworth/

                  We all know that your claim to fame is rivaling Penny Bright for the most down votes on kiwiblog

                  Indeed! By the way, my 1,000th post is coming up soon. I promised the boys there that it would be a real humdinger, but I still haven’t produced the magnum opus I promised them. [1] Keep your eyes peeled!

                  ….but you don’t have to keep showing us why.

                  Oooooh, I think I do…..

                  [1] http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2016/12/general_debate_20_december_2016.html/comment-page-1#comment-1840994

      • Robertina 25.2.4

        Bob Jones punched Rod Vaughan.
        And that’s the thing with fascism, it strips out personality and individual humanity.
        But yeah, lots of people get some kind of charge from violence – what’s your point?

        • Robert Guyton 25.2.4.1

          Robertina – I was responding to DH’s “lefties” comment and suggesting that those who cheered Jones’ assault on Vaughan didn’t sit there. Too little detail in my comment, it seems.

    • weka 25.3

      “I find it curious that the regular trolls on this site are wiping the floor with all the so-called lefties on what is a pretty simple moral issue.”

      Read McFlock’s comments and see if you can make an argument against them. They’re some of the best ethical commentary I’ve seen on TS for a long time. You can disagree with him of course, but the RWers aren’t wiping the floor with him.

      • DH 25.3.1

        I’ve already stated my position weka. Violence can be (reasonably) justified in situations of self defence. It can only be forgiven in other circumstances and the barrier for forgiveness needs to be a high one.

        I grew up drinking in public bars. All this puerile excuses & justifying punching people is bullshit. The people who do that do it because they get a kick out of it.

      • Pete George 25.3.2

        Here are some of McFlock’s statement’s – do you include them in “some of the best ethical commentary I’ve seen on TS for a long time’?

        I tend to follow the rule of thumb that sometimes, some people need to be punched – but it is never a good thing.

        Nazis are easy to justify punching, like paedophiles. I won’t be overly sad if Rolf Harris gets thumped in prison, for example.

        In the case of nazis it’s important to not normalise their existence. So yeah, disrupt their interviews. If that doesn’t work, hit them. And the more political power they gain despite those actions, escalate it again. Because as they’ve shown, as soon as they get a legitimate toehold they’ll expand their campaign of hate.

        Yes, that’s me advocating intolerance to the point of violence.

        Your immediate response to his whole comment was “Spot on McFlock. I love it when someone else does all the thinking and then encapsulates it so I don’t have to.”

        Given that the National party and National MPs are referred to as Nazis and Natsis do you advocate intolerance to the point of punching John Key or Bill English or any National MP or any National Party supporter (or ACT Party supporter)?

        Perhaps you can clarify.

        [Certainly. You have just taken McFlock’s words selectively out of context and presented them in a new way as if he said them just like that. He didn’t. This isn’t just an out of context cut and paste though. You have literally removed important parts of his comment to alter meaning. As far as I can tell you have done this to try and make out that somehow McFlock (and then my) arguments are wrong. It also looks like a deliberate attempt to misrepresent both our views.

        I don’t know if you are stupid or disingenuous in the extreme, but most people can see that removing pieces of someone’s argument and pretending that you are quoting correctly is a pretty fucked up thing to do. I think about people on a phone reading this thread. They’re not going to bother doing the scrolling and checking to see what you done or what McFlock actually said, so would take it at face value. So it’s down to someone else to check, in this case the post author and moderator.

        3 week ban for wasting my time as a moderator doing the checking. If I ever see you doing that kind of deliberate misrepresentation of someone’s arguments again I will ban you for a much longer time.

        You then go on to refer vaguely to something someone else has said that has nothing to do with me, my views, arguments or the post, and then ask me if that vague something informs my own views around violence. It’s a bullshit question because it tries to tie someone else’s views in with my own as if I agree with them or are associated with them. I don’t and I’m not. If you want to know what I think about calling NZ politicians Nazis, I’ve already stated that elsewhere in the thread. – weka]

      • HDCAFriendlyTroll 25.3.3

        “The interesting argument is the dividing line between “someone who disagrees with you politically” and “oh hell, no, thump that guy”. In the case of nazis it’s important to not normalise their existence. So yeah, disrupt their interviews. If that doesn’t work, hit them. And the more political power they gain despite those actions, escalate it again. Because as they’ve shown, as soon as they get a legitimate toehold they’ll expand their campaign of hate.”

        Just out of interest would you still agree with that paragraph even if instead of talking about Nazis we were talking about Trump supporters? What about pro-lifers? MRAs?

        • weka 25.3.3.1

          No. McFlock clearly explained why specifically Nazis were different than other groups. Do I have to explain that again?

          • Pete George 25.3.3.1.1

            What do you (or McFlock) mean by Nazis?

            People who label themselves or groups they associate with as Nazi? If so should they be judged based on their own actions, or on the historical actions (getting close to a century ago) of actual Nazis?

            People who are called Nazi even thought they are quite different from the Nazi Party and from modern self-labelled nazi groups?

          • DH 25.3.3.1.2

            And you swallowed that? You believe that some groups are full of evil people who deserve to be punched and all the other groups are not?

            • weka 25.3.3.1.2.1

              No. I agree with McFlock’s argument that Nazism specifically seeks to destroy all other people who don’t hold its views, and if it approaches anything close to power to enforce that then the rules of decency change. Nazism isn’t the only group, it’s the one that’s up for discussion today. But pro-lifers obviously don’t pose that threat to society no matter how much I might disagree with their views or actions. See the difference?

              • Robertina

                The analogy with pro-lifers isn’t as a target of violence, but as perpetrator.
                They justify violence in similar terms through labelling those they attack as evil and posing a threat to society.

                • weka

                  HDCA above compared Nazis and pro-lifers, as people we disagree with. But it works your way too. Can pro-lifers argue that prochoice people are a threat to society in the way Nazis are? I don’t think so.

                  • Robertina

                    Ah – that’s the point. They ”can” make that argument (including claims that abortion doctors are Nazis), and even though their argument is wrong, we can’t condemn their tactics of violence and coercion if we are prepared to do the same in furthering our own political aims.

                    • weka

                      People can say whatever they want, doesn’t mean the argument is valid. If pro-lifers want to argue that pro-choice people are setting to take over the world and murder people who disagree with them I think they’d have a hard time running that argument tbh. Which is probably why they don’t use it.

                      ” we can’t condemn their tactics of violence and coercion if we are prepared to do the same in furthering our own political aims.”

                      I don’t actually see anyone here promoting violence as a way of furthering our own political aims. I think that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the argument.

                    • Robertina

                      That’s a ridiculous way to side-step the pro-lifer analogy.

                      Oh, and political aims don’t just mean pure tactics or terror, but all the broader reasons and rationale that people have cited on this thread.
                      You’re not suggesting that the punch wasn’t political, are you?

                      I suspect you’ll keep shifting the goalposts and claiming that I don’t know what the argument’s about, so I’m not too interested in continuing this discussion.

              • DH

                You haven’t made your point weka. My discussion is about whether it’s morally justified or not to punch someone on the grounds of disliking them or what (you believe) they stand for.

                The Nazism bit is irrelevant really, that’s merely a mitigation.

                • weka

                  Whereas for me like or dislike had nothing to do with it.

                  • DH

                    If you haven’t already try watching the video of Spencer being punched. His attacker is no stranger to violence. If you want to ally yourself with street thugs good luck to you.

                    • weka

                      I’m not allying myself with street thugs. You appear to have zero interest in understanding what I am saying. If you want to have a conversation with yourself go ahead.

        • McFlock 25.3.3.2

          Ok, first of all violence is not ok as the first option in your response list. Just to clarify.

          Secondly, as always the level of force used needs to be the lowest that will achieve the objective. In the context of the Spencer clip, shooting him in the head would have been well wrong, ‘mkay?

          As to which parties it’s ok to hit, rest assured that I don’t think I’ve ever thumped a tory. Minor property damage but not a physical assault. Because the level of force also needs to be proportionate to their threat to society. Tories can be nice people even if they’re slightly wrong. Nazis can’t be nice people. Smooth not nice.

          The argument about right to lifers as perpetrator is interesting. Their professed priority is to save lives. Their definition of life is screwed but they’re logically consistent.

          Trump supporters generally look more foolish if you let them speak. But ask me again when trump starts interning Muslims. And Mra guys are sad little wankers with low self-esteem and get no traction anyway. No point in hitting them so the ethics doesn’t come up.

          • DH 25.3.3.2.1

            Yeah yeah you’re a big tough guy McFlock, you drive a batmobile and you only hit people who deserve it. I get it. What do you want, a medal?

            • McFlock 25.3.3.2.1.1

              You’re welcome to tell me which bits of my comment were unreasonable, or came across as macho bullshit. But as far as I can see your response has literally nothing to do with what I said.

              Occasionally defacing a tory election poster is hardly a claim to be batman.

              • DH

                I read your post as a challenge McFlock, my reply being a response in kind.

                If you were genuinely wanting to engage then I apologise for my rudeness.

                It’s academic now. I’m done here, this was never my natural hunting ground and its well past time to move on.

          • HDCAFriendlyTroll 25.3.3.2.2

            So you’re effectively arguing in very broad terms self-defence but instead of defence of self or other defence of society as a whole.

  25. Gritters 26

    Loving’ this.

    We should all be able to punch people we don’t like.

    • Gabby 26.1

      Well if we’re yankers we’re allowed to protect ourselves if we feel threatened and stand our ground rather than avoid violence. Maybe the guy felt threatened.

  26. Anonymous Coward 27

    Now that you’ve all made your justifications as to why you would hit this guy, where is the discussion about wether he actually is a card carrying nazi, or just a white supremacist in a suit and tie.

  27. Adrian Thornton 28

    Long ago I fought Nazi skinheads on couple of occasions, got hit a few times and hit a few.

    I have to say from experience, it felt pretty good when I got one.

    Not that I condone this behavior of course, just saying.

  28. Drowsy M. Kram 29

    I abhor violence, yet was relatively untroubled by the image of a neo-Nazi being punched – can’t easily resolve this contradiction.

    Heavy ‘blows’, and sacrifices, were needed to deck the Nazis. If only defensive violence against a DIRECT threat is acceptable (it’s certainly preferable), what effective alternatives are available to humanitarians (pesky do-gooders) RESISTing neo-Nazi and other extreme inhuman ideologies?

    In the Trump era (may it be fleeting), and whatever follows, will the contest of ideas and reliance on moral public servants (in the broadest sense) suffice? Am I too scared to do the minimum; speak out?

    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—
    and there was no one left to speak for me.” (Martin Niemöller)

    • Morrissey 29.1

      If you enjoy, or are relatively untroubled by, seeing a fat National Party neofascist being punched, you’ll LOVE this….

      • HDCAFriendlyTroll 29.1.1

        You still haven’t gotten over being banned from WO have you?

        • Morrissey 29.1.1.1

          The question you should be asking yourself, moron, is why YOU have not been banned from that laughable cesspit.

          • HDCAFriendlyTroll 29.1.1.1.1

            That doesn’t even make sense, dude. Up your game FFS.

            • Morrissey 29.1.1.1.1.1

              Let me be more direct, then: you have not been banned from Whaleoil’s despicable pit of “alternative facts” because you have never challenged a thing that Slater or his marginally literate henchmen have posted.

              • HDCAFriendlyTroll

                Whereas you have and you were such a threat they immediately copped you with a ban.

                I bow to your intellectual superiority.

                • Morrissey

                  Everything you wrote in that post is correct except for the word “immediately.” In fact, I was banned twice, reinstated once, and I posted there, off and on, for more than two years.

      • Robert Guyton 29.1.2

        Slugging it out, eh!

      • Adrian Thornton 29.1.3

        @Morrissey, Oh yeah, I hate this fight for life bullshit…but you got to admit that was a great shot.

    • weka 29.2

      “I abhor violence, yet was relatively untroubled by the image of a neo-Nazi being punched – can’t easily resolve this contradiction.”

      It’s interesting to me too. This is why I appreciated McFlock’s comments, and yours are similar. This is not an ordinary context for violence, it’s extraordinary, and we’re all in a process of adjusting to some of the biggest political unknowns I’ve experienced in my life. The only thing that comes close was the nuclear threat (which I thought about in the 80s), but it was never this close.

      • Anonymous Coward 29.2.1

        It was a cowardly punch on a man who, at the time, was talking about his jewellery.
        The nuclear threat of the 80’s was, by it’s nature, a global panic. That white supremacists have the confidence to appear in public on the other side of the world is of no real consequence to us all the way over here in New Zealand. The two things do not correlate at all.
        As I said below, now that you’ve justified the violence set upon this man I put it to you to prove that he is a Nazi. Considering that he had just said emphatically that he wasn’t and that the neo nazis hate him right before he was punched I think you’re going to find this a struggle.

        • McFlock 29.2.1.1

          Considering that there’s video of him finishing a speech with “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” and audience members responded with stiff-arm salutes (which he responded to with a similar gesture), fuck the semantics and what he self-identifies as. He’s a Nazi.

          • Anonymous Coward 29.2.1.1.1

            I’ve seen that video, he does a wave and people start to applaud, during which about 4 people out the whole crowd of around 150 do the stiff arm salute.
            Are you going to justify assault based on that? It’s not the smoking gun you make it out to be.

            • McFlock 29.2.1.1.1.1

              Oh, the salutes were the icing on the cake. The triple yay from his own gob was pretty smoking, as was his gesture in response to applause from an audience that contains stiff arm salutes.

              But then you’re doing a typical denialist thing – concentrating on a single specific to avoid addressing the fact of the whole. Let’s get into an argument about whether four or twenty nazis were saluting him, and ignore why they were saluting him.

              Like how you said he was talking about “jewellery” when he got thumped. We could get into how Pepe the Frog is being appropriated by alt-right fucks from its previously inoffensive meaning (like the swastika), but then that would take away from everything else the guy does to earn the title “nazi”.

              • Anonymous Coward

                You’re right. It’s far too hard to parse peoples ideologies and be absolutely sure that they are what everybody is saying they are. Far easier to revel in the sight of someone being sucker-punched on the street.

                In Australia a punch like that is called a ‘Coward Punch’ and the penalties for inflicting it on someone are harsher than other assaults.

                I’ve heard it said a lot that the solution to speech you don’t approve of is more speech. The more draconian option is censorship, and shutting people down. The Fascist approach is to break some skulls.

                Where did you just find yourself in the middle of all the excitement?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Nazism is a lot more than “speech you don’t approve of”.

                  Shouting “fire!” in a crowded theatre attracts “draconian” responses. In Australia, speech like this also attracts a “draconian” response.

                  In the UK too.

                  What is an appropriate response from citizens when the state starts shouting “fire!”?

                • McFlock

                  What are you, a fucking robot? Who needs to parse exactly what spencer is, be it a “nationally segregationist white supremacist”, a “universalist neo nazi”, a “segregationist nazi”, or a “postmodern nazi neouniversalist”.

                  I’m saying there’s shit in the soup, you’re debating whether it’s green shit or brown shit or straw-coloured shit.

                  Spencer has done more than enough with his own actions and words to meet the threshold of “nazi”. I’ve spoken to audiences plenty of times, and my words never provoked a single person to give an enthusiastic stiff-arm salute. Not one, let alone half a dozen in a single audience. But then I’ve never openly speculated on how to remove all non-white people from my country.

                  I don’t “revel” in him getting hit. It’s mildly amusing, because it’s not 1% of what he’d inflict on everyone else and it didn’t even harm him in any appreciable way (let alone break his skull).

                  And in answer to your question, I found myself arguing with a self-labelled coward who likes to defend nazis by minimising their behaviour.

      • Adrian Thornton 29.2.2

        @ weka, I assume the reason many who on one the hand “abhor violence’ but on the other are untroubled by the image of a racist neo-Nazi getting hit, is because of what he represents to the subconscious, especially I would say in active progressives.

        So to name a few of the objects that he might represent to the subconscious…faceless oppression, the oppressor, unjust power and so on, so in other words, he could represent to the subconscious, ones powerlessness over theses things to ones perceived conscious daily life,
        So therefore it is quite understandable and natural that many would feel this contradiction if they consciously abhor violence, but at the same time recognize injustice and oppression in the world that they feel powerless to change.

        I have no such contradictory feelings myself, this guy is what I call a ‘camp guard’.
        If there where camps..he would be first in line to volunteer to be on duty, you can be sure of that.

  29. timeforacupoftea 30

    1967 in NZ we were settling Brits by the 100’s into trade jobs.
    At that time it was punch a pom a day at work, lasted for months, if the wife worked with the hubby she got a good old “Trump” treatment.
    Known as a “SNATCH” grab.
    Grown married men doing very bad things.
    I was 19 from a church background, it made me sick.
    I befriended them and got both treatments done to me.

    terrible times

    • weka 30.1

      What was that about? Brits taking Kiwi jobs?

      • KJT 30.1.1

        Unfortunately, it was about them bringing their rotten industrial relations, from both sides, rabid trade Unionists and tone deaf, entitled, methods of management, along with their class system.

        Gave the right wing, way too much ammunition against Unions, and paved the way for a generation of incompetent, accounting trained, chinless wonder, management.

    • Rosemary McDonald 30.2

      Oh god…do I remember those days.

      Arrived from the UK escaping the early 1970s electrical workers’ and miners’ strikes and arrived in a small Far North settlement.

      “Punch a Pom A Day” was wholeheartedly taken seriously by schoolmates, and poorly policed by teachers.

      The Pommie accent gave me away, so I quickly ditched the worst with the added bonus of learning to pronounce Maori more or less correctly…albeit with an instantly recognisable (in other iwi areas) Ngapuhi dialect.

      Taking Kiwi jobs?

      Some of that…but we were sent to a remote and unfashionable part of NZ (just like today Auckland and Christchurch were favoured destinations) so that was not the problem.

      I believe part of it was the “Whingeing Pom” thing…NZ was way behind just about anywhere else in the world in terms of pretty much everything…and I say that lovingly as someone who always felt at home here and loved the fact we were decades “behind”. Those Pommie voices demanding that NZ became more like ‘home’ certainly grated…and while punching was utilised freely…a hearty ‘fuck off back to where you came from’ generally shut them up.

      The other thing was the fact that some of the more rabid unionists from the UK found themselves out here…and were to be heard on National Telly of a night trying to stir up the same shit that they did back home.

      And before y’all get up on me for saying “unionist”, “rabid” and “shit” all in close proximity…you would have had to be held for ransom for two winters by those arseholes to get it. I grew up in a mining town and I’m the granddaughter of a miner…and while the community rallied around the strikers for a very long time…when folk began dying for want of power for heating and light…sympathies began to wane. The expression “has more, wants more” was frequently heard.

  30. One Anonymous Bloke 31

    Judge Raoul Neave said the victim received head wounds and continued to have problems with a shoulder that was dislocated in the struggle.

    He said the attack was also extremely distressing for the other family members.

    Nepe was egged on by others “in the most disgraceful fashion possible” the judge said.

    “You got it into your head to punish him for what you thought were repellent political views, but the only person behaving like a fascist was you.”

    The argument that “it was ok to shoot them in WWII” is a false premise: it wasn’t “ok” – by all accounts it was bloody and traumatising and awful.

    Violence in self-defence or the defence of others is legal. I’m not sure how punching some wannabe blockleiter achieves either goal.

    • KJT 31.1

      Most of the people shot in WW2 were not Nazi’s. On either side.

      Poor bloody conscript soldiers and millions of civilians.

      The establishment in the USA and UK were perfectly fine with Nazi-ism. So long as they only attacked “Communists” Unionists, “Socialists” and Jews.

      Hitler was a “bloody fine fellow”, putting the working class in their proper place.

  31. Andre 32

    There should be a word for that feeling you get when you watch something you think is wrong and you would prefer hadn’t happened, but you nevertheless find intensely satisfying.

    Maybe the Germans have one. Sabine?

    • HDCAFriendlyTroll 32.1

      schadenfreude?

      • Andre 32.1.1

        Nah. Schadenfreude is simply enjoying someone else’s misfortune. It doesn’t include the element of feeling that what happened is wrong, which is a key part of what I felt watching Spencer get what was coming to him.

    • Bill 32.2

      The delivery was funny – well executed.

      I view it in terms of a custard pie, or a well delivered stand up comedy moment that gets you laughing due to a distraction being delivered alongside something quite distasteful.

      An unpleasant guy got twatted one. Big deal. People (both pleasant and unpleasant) get twatted all of the time and for a variety of reasons. I don’t know this guy or have much in the way of sympathy for him given his obnoxious views. Basically, I couldn’t care less

      But the delivery is deserving of a little in the way of accolades, no?

  32. joe90 33

    Why nazis should be punched.

    One

    Two

    Three

    Two punches. Two punches and you have them questioning if they can be public Nazis and admitting that if they can't they will lose. pic.twitter.com/gAfBIomjvd— Jonny(!) (@jonnywaistcoat) January 29, 2017

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