It is an understandable impulse to want to physically hurt white supremacists. It is a matter of analyzing when it is worthwhile and not.
I have spent a lot of time in the last nine months with people who did time in prison for violent crimes. Many are homeless, addicts, who as a result of their violence, often against oppressive and abusive people, lost everything they had, including connections with friends and family as a result. All of them regret doing it.
Furthermore when you commit violence against those you believe are different from you or those you see as oppressors, you give them what they want, as many of them have a death wish because they hate themselves, but moreso you give those who keep us in bondage and rely on their divide and conquer program to keep their power more power to oppress you and those you care about. Often such violence leads to further oppression of people of color.
Many white activists like to claim “self defense” despite making the choice to go to the scene of usually peaceful protests by sad, ignorant people. When I see that, I really see supposed anti fascists, or antifas, actually committing fascism, ruining their lives and the lives of others, and giving more power to the true fascists who have owned this world for too long. It is immature, counter productive and reinforcing the selfishness inherit in white supremacy, making you no better than the neo Nazis, often broken and deeply manipulated people.
Politics aside, you simply have to ask yourself if the pros outweigh the cons for you, if you can live with the consequences and if it will truly accomplish your goals of creating a better world. This is not a matter of morals, but cause and effect. When you’re being raped and beaten by white supremacists in prison, assuming they don’t kill you, you will truly regret your decision.
As a homeless person of color who has been abused and discriminated against and suffers from severe and persistent mental illness, I would implore white allies to use the energy and anger they wish to use to punish white supremacists on helping oppressed people directly: volunteering, mentoring, researching, writing, podcasting, listening and being a support system for those of us suffering under this system.
This last 10 months being homeless, I have been threatened, harassed, mocked, wrongly accused, assaulted, arrested, abandoned and mistreated by friends and family and those I trusted, after losing every material possession I had. It has been deeply traumatizing and has led to strong homicidal urges I have struggled with, leading to suicide attempts and self injury. I have resisted violence, not only because of strict laws with hefty sentences in Oregon, but because I recognize that those who seek to hurt and degrade me do so because they suffer under the same system of oppression as I do, and is why they are in the same low place as me.
If you assault or kill a neo-Nazi and go to prison, you are one less valued ally who can help be an aide to the oppressed and will be further traumatized and damaged yourself. That only gives the true oppressors, the 1 percent, more jokes to tell in their boardrooms about how easily controlled ants we are to them.
White people’s go to solution for many problems seems to consistently be denial or violence, even if it is for a “good” cause, because it is how they gained their privilege. This world is a hateful mess because of violence, more violence doesn’t make it better.
So many great teachers like Jesus, Socrates, The Buddha, Mohammed, Ghandi, MLK, preached this, many of them killed for it. These neo Nazis claim to be Christians, claim to worship a loving man who was against violence and hatred and died brutally for going after the power structure that breeds it.
So to say committing violence against these people to try to show them the error of their ways only reinforces those who have contorted Jesus’s teachings to enslave and hurt you and those you love, and manipulate these lost young people absorbed in a false ideology that can be changed, because racism is a mentality. I have seen strong examples in my own life of simple moments that turned a white person away from believing in white supremacy, including in my own family. Such thinking is as illogical as the false ideology that those with pale skin are inherently superior, and the international elite know it is false too, but rely on your investment in such divisive delusions to continue controlling you.
Think about those innocent affected by your violence. If a five-your-old girl asked you why you killed her brother or her father for saying something you didn’t like, for espousing hate, what would you say to justify it, to ease her confusion and pain that will set her up for years of addiction and mental illness and deferred or delayed dreams? Could you justify it to her? I know I couldn’t.