[Marxism] Punching Nazis Revisited

Dan Michniewicz michnied at mail.gvsu.edu
Tue Mar 13 12:30:30 MDT 2018


The issue of using physical force to intimidate fascists and deter them
from organizing has come up on this list in the past. One week ago Richard
Spencer spoke at Michigan State University. A few hundred antifascist
counter protesters including myself gathered outside the venue in an
attempt to block Spencer and attendees from entering the building. About
150 tickets were sold, and only a couple dozen Spencer fans made it into
the venue. Many turned away after seeing our numbers. Some, including a
contingent of about 30 featuring Matt Heimbach and his Neo-Nazi Traditional
Workers Party, were turned away only after physical confrontation. Many of
those who did make it into the venue had to be escorted one at a time by
six or so cops through our crowds. This was undoubtedly an unpleasant
experience for them. Some were bloodied and some had horse shit thrown on
them.

Since then, Spencer announced via a youtube video that he would no longer
be making planned public speaking appearances
<https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/03/12/alt-right-leader-richard-spencer-says-his-rallies-arent-fun-anymore/416579002/>
.

It's important to note that a diversity of tactics besides physical
intimidation were employed both on the day of his appearance and the days
leading up to it. Notably, the locations and businesses where the fascists
hoped to meet and socialize were made public, and businesses cancelled
their reservations.
<https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2018/03/04/we-found-out-where-the-alt-right-is-holding-its-secret-conference-in-metro-detroit>

My point here though is that physical confrontation--and yes, punching
nazis in the face--played a central role in deplatforming and driving the
figurehead of the Alt-right out of public spaces. Spencer and the TWP have
represented the core of this explicitly fascist movement, and I expect that
the young white men who it has been attracting will be looking elsewhere
going forward to seek refuge from their economic and cultural atomization.
There's more violent options including Atomwaffen and alternatively the
"alt-light" featuring voices like Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson.

Many of us had been spending considerable amounts of time over the past
months organizing teach-ins and doing other work centered around Spencer's
visit to MSU and also a planned visit to the University of Michigan. Now
that he's no longer making public appearances, these lefties are now freed
up and can hopefully focus on less "defensive" measures.  Myself and other
locals are emboldened. Are we wrong to feel this way?



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