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January 26, 2017

Anti-fascists in Philly create fund for suspect who punched white nationalist

Crowdfunding Fights
012617_SpencerPunchPHL Jon Tuleya/PhillyVoice

Protesters hoist sign referencing attack on Richard Spencer during protests of President Donald Trump's visit to Philadelphia for the Republican congressional retreat on January 26, 2017.

The internet's great obsession this week, apart from this highly relevant meme, has been dissecting the ethico-moral dimensions of punching a neo-Nazi unawares. Is it chill? Is it karma? Is it a violent crime like any other heinous assault on the street?

We're all asking ourselves because, if you haven't heard or seen, prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer got jumped last Saturday nearby Donald Trump's inauguration in Washington, D.C.

The leader of the alt-right National Policy Institute was in the middle of explaining to an Australian interviewer that he does not view himself as a neo-Nazi, but rather as a conservationist of white individuals of European descent, when he was blindsided by an unknown male suspect, who drilled him in the face. He was not even through showing off his Pepe pin.

Spencer, who co-edits, tweeted the next day that he had filed a police report in Washington, D.C.

To come to the victim's aid, the developers of WeSearchr, a bounty website now in beta, created a fund to locate the suspect seen in the video above. They've raised $5,223 as of publication.

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But members of Philly Antifa, an anti-fascist activist group that supports political prisoners, has since launched a counter fund to back the unknown suspect in the event he is apprehended.

"Philly Antifa is fundraising for the legal defense (if found and charged) or the health care costs (if attacked) of the puncher," the group said at its website. "We do not know who the puncher is nor are in touch with them, however we have years of experience raising legal defense for militant antifascists and are committed to distributing the funds to anyone accused if and when they are need."

The local group has criticized both media outlets and the online communities for giving a Spencer a platform to share his views, including the oxymoronic notion of "peaceful ethnic cleansing," even if it's in the form of a derogatory meme. While Philly Antifa stops short of explicitly condoning violence, the group said it views the attack on Spencer as an act of militant resistance.