Police with binoculars and a rifle position themselves on a roof across the street before Jason Kessler, a white nationalist organizer, tried to speak outside the Charlottesville City Hall on August 13, 2017, in Virginia. The police often stood by as white supremacists escalated violence against anti-racist counter-protesters. (Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images)
If the neo-Nazis feel especially emboldened to come out of the shadows now, it's because elements of their neo-fascist ideology have found a comfortable place at the highest levels of the current administration, including with Trump himself. Such normalization of hate and bigotry is usually the first step to authoritarianism.
Mustafa Ali was previously an environmental justice adviser with the Environmental Protection Agency before his abrupt departure under Trump. Today, he is the senior vice president of Hip Hop Caucus, a social advocacy nonprofit that has worked to build power in disadvantaged communities since 2004.
Self-defense against the forces of white supremacy has always been necessary, but liberalism has incorrectly maligned most acts of self-defense as violence. Being more moral than the far right is no defense against bullets. In these terrifyingly violent times, it's worth challenging liberal views on self-defense as part of a broader rejection of this capitalist white supremacist empire.