I urge the nonviolence community to develop a plan for how to minimize violence at political demonstrations. One option is to form a “white shirt community” whose members wear white T-shirts and stand between potentially violent forces, such as the police, neo-fascists, white supremacists, and the Black Bloc or antifa.
Properly organized, a large gathering of those who believe in nonviolence could consider various options, adopt a plan for action, and sign up people to implement it. Well-organized nonviolent measures could help discourage provocations by demonstrators and overreactions by police.
Rather than organize their own demonstrations, violence-prone anarchists hijack peaceful demonstrations. One rationale they use is self-defense. They claim to be protecting themselves against police violence. If violent anarchists attacked white-shirt teams, they could not use that argument.
Another justification they employ is preventive violence. They say they want to “nip in the bud” fascism before it flowers. But their actions promote fascism.
Neutrality and a “diversity of tactics” are not working. While primarily putting their efforts into life-affirming nonviolent demonstrations, and without taking a stand on defensive violence, advocates of nonviolence need to unite to counter those who initiate violence.
The time has come for the nonviolence community to solidify and take steps to help prevent, or at least minimize, violence at peaceful political demonstrations.