In defense of vigilantes using brickbats & punching fascists in the face, Counterpunch published an article proclaiming protests are not enough anymore. Some people just prefer to operate in small bands hiding behind masks so we can’t identify which ones are agents provocateurs. They eschew large crowds because the democratic character of social movements stifles infantile macho impulses.
The debate has been falsely framed because Chris Hedges & Noam Chomsky compared anarchist vigilantes to the fascist right. They’ve now become persona non grata to libertarian rednecks though their support for Assad’s dictatorship didn’t rattle any cages. Go figure. What seems peculiar is that some anti-Assad libertarians also support the brickbat approach to politics. An alignment that makes sense when you understand that libertarianism is a rootless ideology, the refuge of lost souls.
The issue is not the moralistic comparison Hedges & Chomsky made but whether anarchist vigilanteism is an effective strategy. It isn’t. Not when the real character of fascism is state & military power. Fascism is not what you see on the Berkeley campus. Fascism has the character of what we see in Arakan state & Syria & you can’t take that down with brickbats.
In defense of protests, especially of the massive kind, that’s how revolutions are made. Counter-revolutions are made using artillery. That the millions protesting in the Arab Spring did not succeed does not make protest a powerless strategy but speaks to the many problems of social transformation, including political weaknesses, the leadership, the democratic control of movements, & the massive propaganda & military efforts of counter-revolution.