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How (Not) to Challenge Racist Violence


How (Not) to Challenge Racist Violence

Aviva Chomsky

As white nationalism and the so-called “alt-Right” have gained prominence in the Trump era, a bipartisan reaction has coalesced to challenge these ideologies. But much of this bipartisan coalition focuses on individual, extreme, and hate-filled mobilizations and rhetoric, rather than the deeper, politer, and apparently more politically acceptable violence that imbues United States foreign and domestic policy in the 21st century.


Excellent. The right perspective that’s needed.


These white nationalist groups on the right represent an extreme danger and must be challenged. The most extreme views are to set up separate white countries within the United States or to ethically cleanse the entire United States. There are about 100 million people in the US who could be considered to be members of a racial minority and a about six or seven million Jews. The extremists want all of these people to be subjugated to white Christians or leave. We saw what happened in Nazi Germany. It should be clear to everyone that fighting back against these extremists must have the highest priority now that they have an ally right in the White House.


I am glad I don’t live in a country that teaches nationalism and warfare in its schools or invades other countries that have not attacked it, and whose print and broadcast media would support or ignore all this; I mean that would be like living in a, a, ah,
. . . . country.


Excellent article. All should read it.


This piece merits the widest possible sharing.


We are so lost in the minutia at the bottom of the forest of trees, that the Eagle Eye View presented by cross genius loci thinkers like the Chomsky is often burned into smoke.

I dare say I know at least four others on this web site who can see from Pluto.
So I truly welcome the Chomsky assertion.

The Fault Right in Charlottesville may not be the ones who have, or are trying to, entrench in power and siphon for themselves per se. Perhaps some of them can only realize any empowerment for themselves by an affirmation of their skin color to be a mark of greater ability. Positing the material accomplishment of the past two hundred years (the industrial years) as work of their blood (relatives?) is an easy narrative to lay a foothold in.

However, there is a thread that runs from the media hogs perceived as the powers of the planet and the those who claim heir. That lineage maybe owned in aspiration or immediate ability. This assertion is commonplace, and to the awakened, ubiquitous.

I for one, cannot engage the megalomaniacs who dropped fat boy and little boy and immediately rushed into Korea because it kept their revenue stream going. The structures that crystallize societal malaise continue from colonial times. Simple identification of these keystones of oppression has not meant access to change.


Excellent article. Makes everything else written on this incident so infantile. Sad, how few of these perspectives we have in the public agora. There are around 100 people per month murdered by police. And that number remains steady.


That would put the blame for racism squarely in the lap of the economic royalists, the oligarchy.

Racism is a product of economic inequality.

Direct Democracy.


Great article. If we judge by actions and not by words, there’s plenty of racists to be found in the halls of Congress, the Whitehouse and statehouses across the nation.


I’d take the author’s sensible assertion one step further:

The rich and powerful oligarchs who perpetuate the endless war on everything, for-profit models of debt and healthcare, regulatory capture, and ownership of our calcified 2-party farce, love the smokescreen distraction provided by Charlottesville.

White Supremacy on one side, identity politics on the other–and greedy capitalists stuffing their pockets with what they steal from the masses they’ve successfully divided and conquered.

Need a recent example: Hillary and her fans calling people deplorables and BernieBrosand and telling the electorate “we don’t need to make America great again…everything’s just fine.”


Agreed. An example of such a smokescreen is the Trump administration getting rid of Steve Bannon. On the surface it looks like an effort to remove a white supremacist from the White House due to the will of the people, where instead there are ulterior motives and satisfying the people’s demands are only a secondary goal. Bannon was, among the standards of the current administration, a non-interventionist who objected to being more aggressive towards Syria, North Korea, and Iran. This is something that both sides of the political aisle couldn’t accept. And so with these recent white supremacist attacks they finally found a way to get rid of an impediment to more warfare and have released the valve of anger of the people a little.


An excellent piece, Ms. Chomsky! It is a reminder to us on the progressive side to be careful not to lose sight of the “big picture”, which is no doubt what the real power structure wants.


And the military is taking charge----Trump to address the country tomorrow on Afghanistan—how long will this charade of terrorism go on???How many terrorists cells are being created by US actions. The US is fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan----the Taliban have nothing to do with Terrorism against the US. And will the corporate media ever do real reporting on the daily slaughter in Yemen?Democrats just agreed to a 100B increase in the military budget. Now is the time to bring this military crap to an end. We need money for jobs,healthcare,social security----demand that the corporate media address militarism. Obama ran on pulling back and what did he do—expanded in different ways–Trump ran on pulling back also----Trump ran on cutting back bases around the world----so what will he do?


Yes, but they are the ones who most vigorously, in the streets, defend all the repugnant things you listed, Ms. Chomsky.


An excellent reminder that we shouldn’t lose track of the forest for the trees and I heartily agree but I don’t think it is an either/or. We must find a way for doing both. I’m not sure what happens if we leave the supremacists unchallenged. I am grateful for this idea being shared here. I think many think the same. Nevertheless, we know what confronting individuals looks like. What are the steps towards building that broader movement that would tackle the entrenched power? What would it look like in the particulars?


The so-called alt-right, the white supremacists and white nationalists along with the Nazis – these are the shock troops for the oligarchy. It makes no sense to ignore them.

Isolate the white supremacists. Outing them and firing them will leave only the hardcore (meaning – reduce their numbers). Make it hard for them to remain organized. Deny them public and private spaces whenever possible.

Cut the pipeline for white supremacy by fighting back against those who are targeting young white men and boys for recruitment online, in gaming, and in college. Teach well-meaning but really clueless white parents that the basic tenet of liberal white parenting, that “no one is born a racist” and their subsequent shielding of their offspring from any discussion of race and racism are not only supportive of white supremacy but leave their children without any defenses against the sophisticated “alt-right” recruitment and the deeply cynical “ironic racism” made popular by for-profit entertainment.

And, simultaneously as we work to build a multi-racial united front against white supremacy, including fighting back against mass incarceration, police brutality, attacks on unions, etc, start teaching people about the history of this country and about capitalism and imperialism. Again, it makes absolutely no sense to advocate for people to do only one thing.


I fully agree but Aviva is right as well. It’s the corporate nazis in ties – the earth-destroying, war profiteering slave system of corporate politics that must be confronted. Blatant nazi terrorists must be suppressed – violently if need be – but they are just the distracting end of the battering ram of the police state and of capitalism.

Marches and rallies are a good tool for organizing a larger movement. Beyond gratifying unity marches we need to be demanding the removal of Trump and his fascist cabal, demanding laws separating money from politics and demanding electoral reform. We need to be supporting progressive, crowd-funded candidates and we need to be actively pushing progressive culture to counter toxic corporate culture which defines the framework out of which people think and act.


The fact that these white nationalist groups exist at all is symptomatic of a serious societal problem. The only way to really eliminate such groups is to change society. Exposing these white nationalist groups for what they are by shining a light on them is the way to go. Simply driving them underground won’t work.


People may not be born racists, but some people, due to their biological and psychic make-up, as well as their environmental and familial upbringing, are more prone to becoming racist(s) than others.

For example: A person raised in a community where much racism has always existed, such as one of the many urban blue-collar white ethnic communities that have been so prevalent here in the United States is just as likely as not to become a racist: That being said, here’s an example:

  1. Person A, who was born and raised up in Anywhereville, U. S. A., becomes a racist yahoo.

  2. Person B, who was born and raised up in Anywhereville, U. S. A. doesn’t become a racist yahoo, but becomes a decent human being instead.

That being said: Why do two people who’ve grown up in the exact same kind of environment turn out totally different from each other?

It depends on the familial upbringing, a person’s psychological make-up, and their overall personality, plus the section of the community in which a person resides.