Nazis, people or monsters?

When you see a person and they present themselves like this, they know the effect this has on people. This is why they dress in symbols of hate.

What is this person getting out of this?

They are saying:
I’m a monster
I’m a horrible, awful no good person
I’m powerful in my horrible awfulness
I can force you to react to me by being so extreme you cannot turn away
Nazis are the worst - I own it. I’m the worst.
These are my people, the assholes. I’m with them. Together we are banded together in brotherhood.
We’re big and you’re little.

I was thinking today about the actual Nazis and how after WWII all the countries got together and said, “After you slaughtered all those people, we heard you loud and clear that you were financially really hurting from those WW1 reparations,” and then most of those people who supported the Nazi regime went on to become not Nazis. Not to say there weren’t those that fled to Argentina and continued to be losers, but the bulk of the Germans who had thought being a Nazi was a good idea shifted away from it and went on to be not Nazis.

I just keep thinking, maybe if we were to listen to people who are saying,
I hate myself
I would rather lash out at you in anger than confront myself
My life sucks and its your fault

Maybe they are not actually Nazis and KKK and monsters, but scared boys and men (and women) who need some kind of help.

Even though I see everyone saying we have to react with condemnation, I wonder if that is going to get us where we can ramp it down.

I think there is somewhere other than concession and outrage, a place where there is real conversation, but this little song and dance is to push everyone to the edge and say we are shutting down the conversation.

Is it possible to help them get their needs met and drain this pus out of system?

Is it possible that these people can become not Nazis, not Monsters, not KKK and turn back into Americans?


I’m sorry, but that sounds too much like appeasement to me.

There was that essay a poli sci professor wrote during the election. One of her students was pro-Trump with fascist leanings. Okay, she thought, let’s see things from his point of view, and she researched the county he lived in.

Median income was $45,000. Unemployment was low.

Not exactly the Weimar Republic.


Well, that’s the concern, appeasement.

But, for example,after WWII, when they changed the situation with Germany’s war reparations, then it wasn’t “appeasement”, that was understanding the real problem this had created for everyone.

I think there is a way out of this that isn’t, “Sure, let’s go back to white men get all the privileges in life. You can treat us like dirt.”

I’m saying, what if we were to listen to them and help us both to get our needs met. According to Nonviolent Communications principles, needs are never in conflict, just strategies to get them met.

These people’s strategy to get their needs met is to foment anger and conflict.

But if we were to talk to the actual people under the hoods and behind the little stupid goatees and white polo shirts and really listen to what they - the people, the not monsters - were really upset about, is it possible that we could find a way to see that it is possible for us all to get along together?

I don’t mean appeasement, I just mean trying to see what is making them so enraged and perhaps not being scared by it, but willing to listen underneath the pain and saber rattling.

What if we thought about the needs Trump is filling for these people and found other ways to fill those needs.

These needs

to know and be known
to see and be seen
to understand and
be understood

sexual expression





celebration of life
to matter

© 2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication
Website: Email:
Phone: +1.505-244-4041


Inhuman monster people.



My mum’s family lives a bicycle ride away from the German border. Among the first to be invaded, among the last to be liberated.

My great-grandfather fostered German kids during the 30s when their parents couldn’t afford to raise them.

Everyone in my family who remembered the war drew a line between German regular soldiers and the SS. The former were all right most of the time, given the circumstances. The latter were the true believer Nazis and were to be avoided at all costs.

The film Das Boot illustrates this well. Sure the crew would like to win the war, but only that one SS guy truly believes the “superior race” stuff.

It seems to me that by comparing today’s American Nazis to the German voting public of the 1930s in general, you’re confusing the SS with the regulars. Hell, in Le Pest Brun Daniel Guerin has an interview with a Jewish couple who voted for Hitler, 'cos they really loved his economic platform. They certainly weren’t Final Solution-espousing anti-Semites.

The Marshall plan did not make the Nazi true believers go away – it just shut them up while everyone got on with surviving. Post-war Germany in the late 40s/early 50s wasn’t exactly economically thriving compared to the 30s – relatives of mine wound up in a displaced persons camp there, and have stories of schools with boarded-up windows for months because replacement window glass was impossible to get.

So different histories, different groups of people. Most definitely not one set of needs. I really don’t think comparing today’s Nazis – dressed in expensive gear, toting expensive guns, using a reasonably nice car to run people over – to Weimar will help.


Sure, a lot of people went back to being non-nazis but we also spent the next half a century hunting down the ringleaders and executing them for war crimes. I’m normally against the death penalty but in the case of the higher-level executions at both Nuremberg and Tokyo, I think it was not only appropriate but necessary.

The people marching at Charlottesville were not the equivalent of unwilling soldiers in the Wehrmacht or even camp guards enforcing orders from above; they specifically chose an ideology of hatred that in turn means they directly want my friends and family members dead for doing nothing other than existing. They don’t even have the excuse that would have applied to Germans in the thirties, that they didn’t know where Nazism would ultimately end up.

They chose to ally themselves with an ideology that advocates genocide, specifically because of the genocide aspect. I don’t give a fuck what they think their economic or nationalistic motivations are for doing so, these people (and I use the term lightly) are scum.

By all means, work to address the perceived imbalances in society that lead to the rise of an ideology like neo-nazism but the individuals marching under swastika flags get no sympathy or understanding from me.


By all means, work to address the perceived imbalances in society that lead to the rise of an ideology like neo-nazism but the individuals marching under swastika flags get no sympathy or understanding from me.

This is my suggestion, that they know that by putting on these symbols, they will not get sympathy or understanding, they will get hate.

And so why is it that they want people to hate them?

Then perhaps if we get to the root of that, it can change.

There are people that leave hate groups. Being a hateful person isn’t some fundamental part of your nature.


So, look. Nazis are as you say people acting as monsters. It may make perfect sense to look at what human needs are going unfulfilled to make them act this way. But I’d argue that doesn’t make sense as a concept unless you have a chance to look at the person rather than just the monster suit.

The Nazi cause is not built off some sensible kernel. Even take a broader group like the Trump supporters; people have been falling over themselves to excuse them with economic problems, social problems, pretty much anything but the anti-civil rights movement. And pretty much all the commonalities I’ve seen them find are white fright, misogyny, hatred of intellectuals and foreigners, and attachment to disinformation promoting the same.

That’s not to say the idea of pulling people back from the edge is always hopeless. But I expect would have to depend on the individual, and vary a lot between them, rather than expecting some common answer because they bought the same brand of poison. If you take them as that aggregate, marchers united by red flags of hate, you are not going to find anything to converse with.


Das Boot is fiction. And the Reichsmarine were not the Wehrmacht.


Wait. Did you just call all four of my grandparents, two uncles, and my father all liars? Or are you just erasing their lived experience under the occupation?

Nobody said anything about “clean hands”. We’re talking about motivation and belief structures.


It’s not that they want people to hate them, it’s that they don’t care; when your ideology revolves around taking back the rightful power that you are predestined to have, consensus isn’t high on your list of priorities.

If anything, liberal hatred of their cause just proves them right and is a feature, not a bug.


people or monsters

One and the same


I can definitely recognize that these are people who feel threatened by the world and that there’s something underlying that; that it might, indeed, be more accurate to say that they’re suffering Nazism and need our help.

However, it’s the nature of their psychological prisons that they refuse to share or comprise, don’t respect what you say, don’t even want to coexist with you. They just want to shove a boot in your face for spouting all this “f—gy libtard kumbaya shit.” You may be able to see their humanity, but they can’t see yours. They’re Nazis—dehumanizing people is kind of their thing.

That’s not to say that someone with your training couldn’t get through to some, under the right circumstances and setting—they may be extermists, but they’re probably normal people in other ways—but the barriers are really, really high. Certainly, they’re not going to stop hating us because we pass a bill that redresses their economic grievances (though less might be added to their ranks by our doing so).

I see it as a problem of return on investment. Is it easier to change the world by getting through to a lot of people with low barriers to what you’re saying, or to very few, with extremely high barriers? My working theory is that you find your place in the alphabet and you talk to the people adjacent to you in understanding—people you can learn from, and people who are prepared to learn from you. They, in turn, talk to people you’d have a hard time with, because your ideas are so different, who, in turn…

So, you’re spreading your influence out like a ripple, rather than firing it like an artillery piece. In that sense, it makes more sense to avoid the extremists completely and address people who are a bit more conservative than you.


Not really. We are indeed talking of motivations and belief structures. If you read the article, you’ll note that the Wehrmacht tended to treat Western POWs relatively well. I would imagine that, by and large, Western European civilians would have seen relatively good treatment as well. By their lights, these were Aryans. The SS got their start as Hitler’s bodyguard, and were responsible for carrying out the Night of the Long Knives, i.e., the murders of the (equally Nazi) SA inside Germany. I have little doubt that most SS counted themselves above any semblance of law.

All bets were off in Eastern Europe, however - the Slavs were Untermenschen to be eradicated, their lands brought into Greater Germany. Even had substantial numbers of the Wehrmacht not subscribed to this view (which is debatable), well, Befehl ist Befehl.


I think they’d take that as proof they were right and double down on the hatred. They won’t see it as compromise or consensus building, they’ll see it as capitulation and start looking for what else they can get. We’ve seen it time and again with the Republicans/UKIP Conservatives - you’re not meeting in the middle, you’re ratcheting yourself to the right.


No, I’m not. I have no doubt that your grandparents views were as you said, and I have no reason to doubt that they genuinely felt as you say they did.

But the idea that the Wehrmacht were the “good” Germans is a pernicious myth. “Not as bad as the SS”, sure. But they were still fighting for Nazism, and most of them did so enthusiastically. The list of Wehrmacht atrocities on the Eastern Front is extensive.

My grandparents participated in that war as well, BTW. At Tobruk and Kokoda.


My point is I never said anything about “clean hands”. “Given the circumstances” is an important qualifier. It’s the difference between someone who is reasonably predictable and someone who is not.

Which is all I said.

ETA: your own family’s history does not counter my first point. Bloody hell. I never said occupation and forced labour and all the rest of it were good things.