Punching Nazis Totally Works

by DARIEN CAVANAUGH via Defiant

When alt-right poster boy Richard Spencer’s face ended up on the receiving end of the punch memed around the world on Inauguration Day, it raised questions among liberals and leftists about the role of violence in politics.

The debate quickly intensified following reports that an anti-fascist protestor was shot at the University of Washington as Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos gave a speech there on the night of the inauguration. Then on Feb. 1, 2017, violent protests at the University of California Berkley shut down a scheduled appearance by Yiannopoulos.

The recent discussions of political violence, particularly as it relates to punching neo-Nazis, tend to center on ethical concerns and skepticism over whether or not it’s an effective tactic.
I’m not going to attempt to address the ethical question. There are reasonable arguments for both nonviolence and the use of force.

But I will say this — punching Nazis is absolutely an effective tactic. In fact, it’s been proved time and time again to be the most effective means of simply communicating with Nazis.

 

 

Violence between anti-fascist and neo-Nazis is nothing new. It’s been getting more attention since the rise of the alt-right and Pres. Donald Trump’s inauguration, but it’s been going on for decades.

Recent incidents include anti-fascist protest at a white supremacist rally in Sacramento in 2016. Several people were beaten and stabbed at the rally. Likewise, protestors at a November 2016 conference for the National Policy Institute, which Spencer heads, attacked one attendee and harassed several others.

In the 1980s and ’90s, much of the violence between anti-fascists and neo-Nazis occurred in the hardcore and punk music scenes.

I started listening to metal, punk and hardcore when I was 12 years old in 1988. The first show I ever went to was DRI, Sick of It All and Nasty Savage at the Cuban Club in Tampa on March 3, 1990. I was 13 at the time.

That night, there were several hundred people, maybe a thousand, in the enclosed courtyard behind the club where the bands played. Most of the people at the show were metal heads there to see DRI and Nasty Savage, but around 50 neo-Nazi skinheads were also there to see Sick of It All.

Vicious fights broke out almost as soon as the music started.

The skinheads targeted random metal-heads for no reason — just picked one or two of them out of the crowd, isolated them and ganged up on them. Any time one of the metal-heads dropped to the ground, they were immediately swarmed by a bunch of skins who kicked and stomped them.

Eventually several police cars and a few ambulances showed up and things calmed down for the rest of the night.

It was a terrifying introduction to the hardcore/punk scene, especially since I was a scrawny teen with long hair and was probably wearing a sleeveless Sacred Reich shirt. I looked like a metal-head, and Nazi skinheads have no qualms about beating up kids.

 

 

Several months later, my friends and I witnessed a similar situation unfold at a Social Distortion and Gang Green show at Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg, Florida. And in July 1990, six skinheads attacked an old homeless black man who wondered into a Judge show at the Star Club in Ybor City during the Bringing It Down tour.

I had just turned 14. I was still scared of everything. But when some older guys started breaking up the fight and ushering the man out the back door to safety, a couple of friends and I timidly helped them, basically by trying to clumsily stand between the man and the skinheads so they couldn’t get to him.

It was a frightening moment. But I think it also made us realize the skinheads weren’t as tough as we had thought they were. There was something about seeing these guys, who were all in their 20s, 30s and 40s, attacking a helpless old man that stirred something inside of us.

We didn’t start fighting the Nazis right away. For a while, we just helped other people break up fights — again, very timidly. I can’t recall when we quit just breaking up fights and started fighting, but we did.

Early on, most of us were kids. We were 14, 15 and 16 years old, throwing down with guys who were several years older than us. A lot of them were in their late teens or early 20s, but some of them were grown-ass men who had been fighting long enough to be fearless. Those were the truly intimidating ones.

There were rumors that years earlier some of the older skins had severely beaten a man and then killed him by setting him on fire as he lay battered in the street. One of them supposedly had a penchant for biting off people’s ears. There was one nicknamed Bam Bam who was known for dishing out knockout punches.

Several had stabbed people. There were other stories.

In other words, the skinheads we were fighting were often way bigger and stronger and meaner than we were, and we knew what would happen if they ever got us down or caught us alone. But we fought them anyway, and eventually linked up with a couple more of the older hardcore kids and a few SHARPS — Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice — who had been fighting them for years. New kids coming into the scene started joining in, too.

 

 

The scene still was not a safe space for anyone for some time. We knew we could be targeted on any given night if some Nazi skinhead decided he didn’t like the t-shirt one of us was wearing or if one of us looked at somebody the wrong way. People of color, women, members of the LGBT community or basically anyone who appeared vulnerable to the Nazis were at the greatest risk.

“Shows were fucking brutal for me as woman,” recalled Angela Art, who grew up in Tampa. “ I got groped, punched, and kicked all the time. I remember there always being skins at the Stone Lounge. Every damn show they’d be there fucking with people.”

Gerald Williams remembers being targeted by Nazi skinheads because of his race. “The Macabre show, I think, might have been the first show were I actually got fucked with or the first show where I really saw the skinhead presence,” Williams told Defiant.

“There were these five skinheads and one of them kept trying to start a circle pit but he would run into me in particular, five times in all,” Williams continued. “I remember after the third hit, Toby and Charlie ended up standing next to me because they noticed it too. After the fifth time, I remember turning around and he did the Nazi salute and Charlie punched him and we all started fighting.”

On another occasion Charlie got arrested after punching a skinhead in Ybor City and then chasing him down the street. The skinhead ran to a cop on patrol in the area for protection.

This was around 1993. By then we pretty much fought Nazi skinheads on sight. Charlie had seen a Nazi walking down the street, so he ran up and hit him. That’s what you did. It had become reflexive. The Nazis treated us the same way.

It was a bizarre sort of turf war. The skinheads had some loose hierarchy, but we never had any sort of organization or anything like that. We were just friends looking out for each other, and trying to help those in our community to do the same.

Jose and Ian, two Puerto Rican brothers, were the closest thing we had to leaders when it came to fighting Nazis. Those two were always at the front when things went down.

In those unsettling moments when a dozen or so of us would square off with a dozen or so Nazis, it felt a whole lot better if Jose and Ian were there. They were physically and personally unassuming, but they were also two of the best brawlers around.

“Ian never said shit, but man he could clear a room,” an old friend of theirs told me.

There were periods when we fought almost every time we went out, then the violence would ebb for weeks or even months at a time, usually because the skinheads grew tired of getting their asses kicked and stayed home for a while.

We lost sometimes — sometimes badly. In one brawl at the Ritz Theater, when I was around 16, I was beating on a skinhead my age when one of the older ones popped me with a quick one-two sucker-punch combo. One of the punches landed on the left side of my face and immediately clamped my eye shut. I couldn’t open it at all. It felt like the socket was packed with sand.

 

Read the full article on DEFIANT

 

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The Author

Meghan

Meghan

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation webzine and clothing.

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172 Comments on "Punching Nazis Totally Works"

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Lemmy Skynyrd
Guest

“The demand for Nazis is much higher than the supply.”
Gavin McInnes

keef
Guest

By the mid/late 80’s in london there was hardly any skinheads coming to punk gigs due to as i heard it-stop going to punk gigs because you are funding communism/anarchists. That order came out of the blood&honour generals mouths and they all obeyed, we had a good 10years at gigs after that.

meth angel
Guest

You know the difference? The alt right isn’t the same thing as violent skinheads. You’re no longer advocating violence to stop violent pieces of shit from harassing others at gigs. You’re advocating punching nerdy collage kids for expressing different opinions.

Rick
Guest

Total bullshit and exaggeration! I know for a fact this is exaggeration because I was there. Most of this did not happen and what did, is greatly exaggerated. I guess the truth isn’t very exciting.

Dwyer Jones
Guest

The best way to deal with Nazis is the way American soldiers dealt with German prisoners after the Malmedy Massacre, and after discovering the concentration camps and their victims–they took no prisoners, just shot them all.

8WasRight
Guest

Check this out you’ll love it! Richard Spencer sucks! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzS0OC-4_f4

Pete Jay
Guest

Absolute truth. At least the quote, not necessarily the article. Florida in the 80s.

Smoleński Paweł Ziom
Guest

Nazi==fascist. When you do your homework?

Sam Warr
Guest

And early 2000’s knows it

Mike X
Guest

The massive difference between the two situations: “Yes, we used violence, but that violence was already there. We simply redirected it back at the source until the source relented and the violence dissipated.”
The author put forth a premise and then refuted his own premise in the quote above. In one scenario, we have a group of people stopping violence with violence, in the other scenario we have a group of people stopping words with violence. Different times, different scenarios, no equal or rational comparisons to be drawn.

Mike Rensmaag
Guest

The massive difference between the two situations: “Yes, we used violence, but that violence was already there. We simply redirected it back at the source until the source relented and the violence dissipated.”
The author put forth the premise and then refuted his own premise in the quote above. Different times, different scenarios, no equal comparisons to be drawn.

Lucas Jorquera Fernández
Guest

Fuck your PC bullshit.

Dennis Kennet Jordan
Guest

But only black lives matter right? How is that not racist?

Andreas Claude Ruccione
Guest

unique brands of cowardice duke it out! how stupid.

Nick Nihilist
Guest

It’s the end of the world. Let’s sit around the comment section and throw digital poop at each other over a CVLT article. Let’s do it.

GDD
Guest

so sad that this site is yet another libtard propagandist.. keep on crying libtards.. Trump is the new president, get over it snowflakes..

Craig Ferguson
Guest

Everyone knows the punching communists works

Matt Keding
Guest
Take this for what it’s worth, but having grown up deep in the trenches of the punk rock and skinhead culture of the ’90s, violence really was not celebrated. It was ever present, but it is counter-productive for a movement. Combating words with violence shows your lack of will. Promoting violence as being acceptable when I am conducting it against those I do not agree with, but otherwise it is unacceptable? Thank you for the lesson on Fascism. Violence is only acceptable when combating violence, and I am fairly well versed in combat. Don’t act like the other side started,… Read more »
Jason Rodriguez
Guest

Yup! Inkwelle Skyes?

Justin Watson
Guest
Are you guys for real here? This writer is equivocating the violence and threatening presence of skins at shows where they would actually fuck people up, to someone they don’t like, saying words they don’t agree with, and those are 2 different arguments. In the punk and hardcore scenes nazis got checked because they ruined the shows, and created a hostile environment, that often ended in violence, something that is purely vile, and unacceptable. So to defend oneself, a friend, or just a person happening to be enjoying a show is self defense and completely justified, and honorable. Yet beating… Read more »
Jason Wick
Guest
Knowing people that grew up in the climate of the skinheads, and anti groups that followed: none of these groups ever made things better in the scene. They all ended up assaulting people that weren’t even defined as their stated ideological enemies, and further escalated the negative climate pushing uninvolved people out. Furthermore, at least in that climate the stated ideological opponents were violent. In this current case that is simply not the case, and you guys have enacted violence first. You’re giving your ideological opponents fuel by doing so, and dampening the publics critical view of them, putting yourself… Read more »
Jacob Juarez
Guest

Nazi punks fuck off

J Antonio Espinoza
Guest

I’m proposing a new thing

“Punch a Nazi” DAY should officially be
April 20 every year.
I couldn’t think of a more appropriate date

Kris Dubie
Guest

Justin Watson

Alessandro Di Benedetto
Guest
You guys keep posting articles like this and you don’t quite get the universal applause that you are hoping for. Nobody likes a bully, especially not a violent, drunk, racist bully but Richard Spencer and his kind are not like that. Not even close. He’s a man looking out for his people’s own interests. There are people like him of every race who do the same, but “oh my god, he’s WHITE”, so to you that means he’s evil and assaulting him is A-OK. I got beaten up when I was a teen by the exact kind of extreme racist… Read more »
Johann Currie
Guest

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha aha hhh aaahaha aha hahaha

Daniel Borman
Guest

Currently bathing in the tears of all these pacifist nazi sympathizers.

Llorona Zepeda
Guest

Meaghan Glover

Paul Bonadonna
Guest

Michelle Bonadonna told you.

Jesse Hunt Sr.
Guest

Where does one go to become a Nazi in 2017? Does this mean I can run over whiney losers that block traffic, can I now beat up people sniveling in front of grocery stores trying to get me to listen to their predictable crap because I disagree with them? Hypocrisy at its finest here, I’m not a righty but lefties are the real Nazis

Jay Nada
Guest

soft, privileged people, who’s well-being is hardly under threat by the emerging new far right, will never understand this but will always cry against it

Aaron Pokoj
Guest

Fuck Nazis. Fuck antifa. Fuck communists. Fuck SJWs. Fuck fascists.

Radoslaw Mizdalski
Guest

Fucking shit! fucking page! fucking stupid retard leftists.

Johann Currie
Guest

Came here looking for nazi apologists, 10/10 did not disappoint

Jared Sheridan
Guest

Ask for negative attention, and you will receive it.

Jeff Van Voorhis
Guest

Thank you for sharing this. A lot of whiny, devils advocate playing secret white pride folks apparently needed a reminder that some of the best metal/punk/etc bands and scenes are multi ethnic, multi cultural and proudly anti Nazi.

Mike Curran
Guest

Liberals are the new fascist

Charles Johnson
Guest

Pat DiRe

Andrew August
Guest

Are you guys fucking stupid? These aren’t skinheads looking for fights (insert Romper Stomper jokes here). As detestable as the shit they say is, they are also nonviolent political activists – violence and legal suppression of their views ultimately make them look good. The old Nazi party came to power by the same means – the far left (communists) would be raising violence and even shooting them while they presented themselves as the party of law and order.

Eric Bjorn Nielsen
Guest

If you’re too dumb to use words and too cowardly to get into a real fight, just sucker punch. This is a perfect analogy for liberals.

Eric Bjorn Nielsen
Guest

So, you’re basically arguing that certain people should not have free speech. This is something the actual Nazis agreed with. Are you a Nazi?

Kyle Hogan
Guest

Dudes ideology is not far from the Nazi so it’s fair to lump the scum together. You don’t give platforms to white supremacists you punch them in their smug faces. Not all opinions are worthy of respect or being heard out and the “alt right”(Nazi fucks) fall into that category

You keep on the Nazi sympathizer path though, I’m sure it will work out for you

Janssen McCormick
Guest

anarchist=/=liberal

Eric Bjorn Nielsen
Guest

That dude wasn’t a Nazi. This isn’t WWII. What I saw was a coward sneak up and sucker punch an internet troll while he was giving an interview. I don’t understand how you can equate battling actual Nazis in a war with sucker punching a loser unless you are a complete idiot. This isn’t an Indiana Jones movie you fucking moron.

Kyle Hogan
Guest

Aww somebody sympathetic to Nazis?

Go find a safe space snowflake

Tim Millar
Guest

It certainly did the trick in Weimar Germany.

Iain Houghton
Guest

Erin Lynn Caskey

Al Bern
Guest

“But if you resort to violence, won’t you put yourself on their level?”””

Darragh Ó Conchobhair
Guest

Then you have gang warfare when the nazis decide to fight back. This leads to a bad road.

Brent Figiel
Guest

The only people who would be sympathetic to a “defenseless” white supremacist after seeing him get punched in the face are people who were already sympathetic to him in the first place.

A little bit of violence directed at guys like Spencer and Milo works. Just look at their reactions when shit got real. They immediately turned into whiny little babies.

Talk shit, get hit. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Jason Wick
Guest

I could care less about the memes, it’s become much more than that. it’s the defending of the behavior and avocation of furthering said behavior that needs to be addressed.

Brent Figiel
Guest

This is why I say it’s inevitable. Leftists aren’t a hive mind. If they get pushed hard enough, they’ll push back.

Turning Spencer getting socked in the head into a meme is the least offensive thing that’s going to happen in the next four to eight years.

Jason Wick
Guest

Man, stuff like this will only help them stack that deck. Look into things like justice Democrats if you want to try and enact change. The woman in charge of the riot in Berkley is openly saying they’ll be doing the same from here on out. We need to put a stop to it before it let’s them put a stop to us entirely.

Brent Figiel
Guest
I’m not saying that violence should be the first, second or even third option (peaceful protests should always be the starting point) but maintaining the moral high ground only works on an even playing field. Trump just signed an executive order giving more power to an already militarized police. Republican controlled states are passing laws against peaceful demonstrations. Right wing southern militias are arming themselves. Playing strictly by the rules is pointless when the opposition is stacking the deck in their favor. By the time you decide you had enough, it’s too late. I’m not advocating violence so much as… Read more »
Jason Wick
Guest
It’s not about feeling sympathy for Spencer. I have no sympathy for him. Its about defending base core tenant’s of a civilized society, and freedom of speech. Attempts at dehumanizing any individual to the point of suggesting it’s okay for people within said society to enact violence against them for their words is repulsive, and ultimately is going to set you back. You’re forcing people who you need to be untied with in order to reclaim the political front to be more skeptical of you, and guess what? Many that agree with you politically won’t back this. You’re giving idiots… Read more »
Brent Figiel
Guest
In the long term, yes, you’re right. But short term? This election swept white nationalists/supremacists into high positions of power in government. They’re currently re-writing the rules to benefit themselves and keep the poor and people of color out. They’re so inept at governing that they’re picking fights with other counties by accident. We simply don’t have the time to wait on the moral high ground while they self-destruct. Be it “peaceful protests” (i.e. letting yourself get clubbed/maced/arrested) or Black Bloc tactics, we need to step up. These protests started in part due to the uptick in hate crimes since… Read more »
Jim Fehn
Guest
Brent Figiel I said “He’s a cunt” for a reason. because he is. MIlo is a fucking piece of shit. But, for the love of god, let the german tell you: you can’t eradicate Nazis (or Extremists for that matter) with violence. You might know we had a SLIGHT problem with Nazis, 80 years ago or so? Ever since, being a Nazi has been outright banned in Germany (the legalese is of course more complex, but that’s the jist of it). We havea horrendously violent Antifa here. Guess what? The Nazis are still there. It simply doesn’t work. History has… Read more »
Aaron Pokoj
Guest

Well Milo’s going back to Berkley with Alex Jones now, and his book sales skyrocketed to #1 on all of Amazon, so keep it up.

Brent Figiel
Guest

Jim, Milo’s “free speech” involved him outting a trans woman at a previous college event and, had he gotten to speak at Berkeley, his plan was to out the children of undocumented immigrants at the school. You don’t combat this kind of douchebaggery with a calm, mutual exchange of ideas.

It’s absolutely true that violence begets more violence but when you look at the end result of what these people want, pwning them in a debate is meaningless. Sometimes direct action is necessary.

Kyle Hogan
Guest

Nobody is going to feel bad for spencer who is not already a Nazi sympathizer

Let him get his sympathy from that lot because they are trash to begin with

Milo, Spencer, and their opinions have no place in our society period

Jim Fehn
Guest
I certainly am not sympathetic to Spencer and his ethics, and still think this was a dick move by an asshole which has helped NOBODY but SPencer. Spencer can now play the victim card, rightfully so, and use it to sway more people over. Remember Sarkeesian? Remember how well this shit worked for her? Spencer didn’t just disappear because of this, he didn’t just vaporize and leave. This did effectively nothing to him. He still sells his books (ffs, he sells books and talks behind a podium). He still does his talks. Naw dawg, naw. Free speech means EVERY speech… Read more »
Willem Eijer
Guest

Bashing antifa scum also works very good.

André Woitczyk
Guest
Defending yourself against a violent attack is not the same as violently attacking someone. It’s like saying, shooting a vicious dog that attacked someone means it’s cool and makes sense to shoot all dogs or animals that look like dogs or share certain traits with that one dog you once knew… And as we are being anecdotal; I got beaten up almost every weekend for years when I was a lefty kid. Didn’t change my opinions one bit. Punches don’t equal reasons. You may be able to get someone off your back by but he is very unlikely to be… Read more »
Geerten Van de Vrede
Guest

Edmond Spelier

Matt Wilkes
Guest

Researching deeper on Richard Spencer. He says he splits his time between his home in Montana and Arlington, Virginia. Can you think of any reason why he’d spend so much time in Arlington, Virginia..??
I can.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_federal_agencies_in_Northern_Virginia

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