A pacifist minister reflects on the antifa who protected protesters from Charlottesville's armed Nazis

There were three armed nazi goons who went and stood in front of a synagogue full of families having a shabbat dinner. Mother’s and kids had to go out the back way terrified.

The rally was supposed to have been organized to protest the removal of statues they claimed were part of their history. Why did so many have guns? Why did they start talking about undesirables like Muslims and jews?

Antisemites dislike/hate jews
Islamophobes dislike/hate Muslims
Homophobes dislike/hate gays
Racists hate blacks.

Naziism treats all of these folks as untermenschen (subhumans). Now combine this with Nazi philosophy which is “kill the untermenschen (subhumans)”. That is frighteningly goal-oriented and the goals are explicitly stated.

Klan philosophy is nearly the same as Naziism (just slightly more focused on racism than antisemitism, and less organized). They used to be really popular until they allied themselves with Naziism a few weeks before the USA joined WWII.

Treat both Klan and Nazis as if they would rape and kill a five year old child for fun. Many have. It’s not like they value humanity.


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Thanks, K!

That is the risk we take.


It also nicely derails the topic which was a pacifist stating that he was grateful for the people prepared to use violence in his defence and stating that people who are not prepared to put their pacifist principles into practice by letting themselves be beaten up by fascists shouldn’t criticise people who fight back against fascists.

Nothing about initiating violence against fascists.


Well that’s what I get for making coffee before finishing the post. Do I still get to say “jinx” if it’s a half hour late?


I suppose if we are going to say this is a free speech issue, then we need to discuss which forms of speech are protected. We don’t allow libel, we don’t allow “actual threats” (as opposed to poetic language that sounds like a threat), so do we allow espousing genocide?

I’d say anyone who adheres to Nazi or Klan ideology, knowing the history of the groups, is essentially making an “actual threat” (and the fact that these guys were online talking about ways to act as a catalyst for violence, so they could claim self-defense and bust some heads, backs that up.)

Is Germany wrong to ban Nazi symbols and literature, including Holocaust denials? I have a hard time arguing against that. I believe they define Nazis as “anti-constitutional”, and this is a bulwark against slippery slope arguments that it will lead to other groups or speech being banned.


No, we do not.

Aside from being immoral and inhumane, it seems like that should fall under ‘criminal solicitation’, at the very least.

Consider that Charles Manson never actually murdered anyone himself… he simply espoused the belief that certain people should be murdered and then convinced others to act on that belief.


I don’t think I’ll have any regrets to share with my grandchildren about what I did or didn’t do to oppose violent extremism in my day. Even my day job is something I’m proud of in that regard.

But “I helped start the war” won’t be one of those conversations.


That’s nice.

Meanwhile the fascists are very open about wanting to exterminate people like me, as well as people from other groups that they view as subhuman. They feel empowered enough to do it too. The murder of Heather Heyer was not a surprise to anyone who had been paying attention, they attempted to kill someone at the Seattle protest the same day as Trump’s inauguration.

How many more have to be injured or killed before you realise that appeasement isn’t going to work on those with murder in their hearts and thoughts? If my desire to carry on living means I help start a war then so be it, but a far right bloodless revolution will not stay bloodless for long.


I do not even remotely equate your political views with theirs, but I notice that I could simply swap a handful of nouns in your post and it would fit right in on some extremely far right blogs.

Does that bother you?

It would be a disingenuous one if you did, considering that this “war” started long before any of us were even born.

The same game of semantics swapping could be played out in any number of statements, but herein lies the difference:

Like myself, the borderer isn’t seeking to start the violence - they’re merely stating that if someone comes for them with nefarious intent, they won’t just stand there passively turning the other cheek.

Our right to exist is not up for debate, and shame on anyone who believes that we are obliged to entertain such conversations, or that we do not have the right to defend ourselves from harm.


OK, how about this.

Between 30th September 2003 and September 26 2004 I experienced being targeted for abuse by fascists. I was spat on, I had death threats put though my door, I had stones and bricks thrown at my windows. In June 2004 I was beaten up by fascists close to a major road, I still have PTSD from that day. The police were useless. The pacifist in me died that day but I survived.

I don’t know how many times I attempted suicide that year. In the end I had to leave the city I had grown up in fearing for my life. I was homeless for six months. Friends have attempted to take me back to see my family, but I start having flashbacks within hours of arriving.

If you think that there is a peaceful solution to that situation, then please tell us what it is because it is happening all over the world. If you don’t then your words are worthless.


Which nouns? The fascists may whinge about leftists and African-Americans wanting to exterminate them, but there’s no evidence that a programme of “white genocide” exists outside their fevered imaginations. The fascists’ preference for eliminationist policies, on the other hand, is not a secret. I also don’t see a fascist counterpart to Heather Heyer or the Seattle shooting victim (not even a murdered pimp elevated to martyr status as Horst Wessel was).

I understand your preference for civil order. Based on history, one of the things I worry about in general in these kinds of toxic political environments is running far-right vs far-left street battles – that kind of chaos only accelerates the march toward authoritarianism.

However, I don’t see this being the case in the U.S. because of the nature of the American left. Yes, there is a very small subset of violence-prone people in the antifa movement, but they’re the kind of anarkiddies who are more interested in starting fights to draw attention to themselves personally than to promote their ideology (about which they’re often ignorant). The majority of antifa are peaceful counter-demonstrators willing to fight in self-defence but are not looking to start fights. The American antifa movement is nothing like the Weimar-era Red Front, an entire organisation of left-wing ideological thugs (some of whom later switched sides to become “beefsteak” Nazis) with a viable Communist party behind them.

The American fascists, in contrast, are very analogous to the Nazi street brawlers of Weimar Germany: thugs one and all, more than willing to initiate violence to pursue their ends, and with a major political party making excuses for them.

tldr; it’s a false equivalency to say that the antifa and the fascists have been equally menacing and violent in these demonstrations, and it’s an error of historical analysis to conclude that what’s going on now is close to the horrific street battles of Weimar Germany.


Well, what @the_borderer noted in their post was true. The reverse ain’t.


That’s more than a little disingenuous since that’s exactly what you then proceed to do.

Someone who responds to a threat is not just as bad as someone who makes threats.


That sounds terrifying and horrible, and I hope you never have to experience anything close to that again.

I don’t share your conclusion, but I respect that it has been hard earned.

I’m not speaking metaphorically.

Nope, not political views. Social actions, yes. More bluntly, you can be a violent extremist on the left or the right.

Malcom X