Given the importance of this topic and the time you’ve spent it is clear that, after reading through the materials you cited (and others), I owe you a response. I largely agree with you about the pitfalls of so-called “strategic nonviolence” and I definitely don’t buy into any kind of violence/nonviolence dichotomy. Insofar as I have (wittingly or unwittingly) been an advocate for that position, I must apologize.
My own positions have changed somewhat over the course of this thread, in part due to being underinformed (although I think you’ve overestimated the degree of my ignorance). Mostly I think the main issue has been my own failure to fully communicate my positions, especially a lot of the relevant nuance. There are still important things I need to say, but right now it’s probably best to leave those for later posts.
This post (from a certain other thread) is relevant:
The context of the FRCF is very different to what it would be if one’s audience were the general public. Some in this thread seem to have assumed that anyone expressing any “white moderate”-adjacent position in this thread must be a “white moderate” more generally, despite the massive difference in contexts. Overall, I’ve found much of this thread rather disappointing in the dire lack of charitable interpretation of opposing arguments. Only a few people in this thread (such as @no_fun_girl) seem to want or care to understand where other people are coming from. Others in this thread would prefer to paint opponents as Nazi sympathizers instead…
What I’m saying here is not what I would be saying in a conversation with an actual “white moderate”, because I understand the importance of context and audience in choosing one’s words. That said, I’ve clearly underestimated the need to provide some additional context for my opinions here, due to this being the FRCF and not properly accounting for my own degree of “outsider” status or my history of being extremely guarded. I apologize for my own failure to communicate, as it has clearly lead to a lot of frustration all around.
This paragraph from your second link is particularly important:
It’s quite telling if even Gandhi was willing to ally himself with violent resistance, despite also saying (rather silly) things like this:
Ultimately, this entire discussion is one of how to bring about shifts in public opinion, and I agree with you that public, outspoken criticism of parts of a movement can play into opponents’ hands via a “divide and conquer” approach; thus the general need for a broad alliance.
But while public criticism may be harmful, there is also a need for internal criticism (and openness to it) in any group and any movement.
I think the “those conversations” of which you speak are extremely important, but with regards to the actions of activists perhaps the best I can do is trust you on that count. However, at the very least, I am in a position to participate in those kinds of discussions w.r.t. positions put forth by people on the FRCF and have some people bother to listen to me. Being critical of others’ positions on the FRCF is a very different matter to public criticism of any particular movement.
So, perhaps I shouldn’t be critical of antifa’s methods even when I disagree with them (e.g. in Berkeley), and perhaps I shouldn’t be critical of someone who decided to walk up and punch a Nazi in the street; it’s entirely possible doing either would be a tactical error (on my part) of the kind that I’ve railed against in this thread. In particular, Nancy Pelosi’s condemnation of certain actions in Berkeley might well have been a major tactical error, although it’s very difficult to evaluate that. But do keep in mind that certain arguments that would be a destructive excuse for apathy if made to the general public are not necessarily so if made to a different audience, e.g. on the FRCF.
In particular, I think that I can and should be critical of people here who (whether implicitly or explicitly) are offering support for pretty much all forms of violence against Nazis in all circumstances, because I think that that support is a serious tactical error, and speaking against that support on my part is not. There isn’t a dichotomy here, either; you don’t have to offer blanket support for punching of Nazis to be in favour of some uses of violence, e.g. antifa’s use of violence in protecting counter-protesters.
Also, given that I live in Australia, both my channels of information and my channels of influence are necessarily very different to yours. There is a discussion to be had about activism and how I (and others) ought to be spending my time, and it’s a discussion that can be had on this forum, although it would fit best in a different thread.