Conflict between the Right and the genuine Left (TM ;-)) may be getting hot. We've seen violence displayed in the streets against lefties. Maybe things won't get worse, but we cannot be sure of that.
So, what to do?
We can start by thinking.
There are two points of view:
- Noam Chomsky is a well-known and respected leftist intellectual. A middle class one, I'd add. He represents one point of view: he thinks violence against racist thugs is self-defeating. This is what he has to say.
- The Libcom folks, among others, think it's Chomsky who's wrong. They represent the other point of view. This is what they have to say (as usual, I highly recommend the comment thread).
Do what right-wingers and pseudo-leftists don't: read and think with calm. Exercise critical thinking.
After reading those two pieces, I'd urge you to keep in mind a few things they did not mention. Readers in general must make their own research, but Australian readers may want to start with this:
- As socialists, experience tells us we cannot trust blindly in the bourgeois police to protect us or in the bourgeois justice to be lenient with us.
- Bourgeois law does recognise the right to self-defence but makes it conditional upon the specific circumstances of the case. This is no trivial matter.
- Proportional force is a must in self-defence: for instance, it's not self-defence to punch someone who insulted you, yelled at you, or pushed you. Your goal is to avoid harm to self and others. You are not there to teach anybody a lesson, or to punish them. Do not over-react. Your reaction must be proportional to the threat. Reasonable. I am no lawyer and it's tricky to explain; it's much harder to exercise, even for people trained, so keep your cool. Guidance from someone qualified would be best. Lacking that, if someone experienced and trust-worthy is with you, maybe you should try to follow his/her lead.
- There's safety in numbers. If you decide to take part in a public manifestation -- whatever its character -- don't fall behind or isolate yourself, stick to those you know and trust. Mutual protection and assistance are fundamental. You may need witnesses, too: keep your eyes peeled.
- Be wary of provocateurs and infiltrators.
- Load emergency service numbers in your mobile phone. (UPDATE: Hedlund has reservations about the use of mobile phones. His reservations are valid -- particularly if one takes a more confrontational approach or if one keeps sensitive contact details in one's phone -- and you should keep them in mind. See below, comment thread, 21 August 2017 at 07:18. Thanks Hedlund!)
- Learn what's legal and what's not in your locality: weapons, weapons permits, requirements for public events. Avoid mistakes.
- Legal representation may be required and it's costly.
UPDATE: I expanded a bit the point on proportional force.