Since the Berkeley riots of yesterday, I have been going over footage and first-hand accounts from both sides. In terms of the actual narrative and timeline, all parties appear to be in agreement – excepting how each sees themselves in the narrative. Footage reveals a clearly planned violent action against a non-violent demonstration by activists on the Right. To everyone who does not wish to see this country descend into a bloody civil war, these events should be deeply troubling.
Why did this happen? This Free Speech demonstration was organized as a response to the actions of violent members of Antifa in shutting down the scheduled Milo Yiannopoulos presentation at UC Berkeley. As a quick recap, Antifa took advantage of a legitimate non-violent protest against the event to create a riot situation, as is their preferred tactic. Those whose sole crime was attempting to attend this event were brutally attacked by those claiming to speak for the Left as a whole. The goals of the legitimate protestors were thereby undermined.
As noted by the leadership of UC Berkeley:
"We regret that the threats and unlawful actions of a few have interfered with the exercise of First Amendment rights on a campus that is proud of its history and legacy as home of the Free Speech Movement. As Chancellor Dirks made clear in his message to the Berkeley campus community, while Mr. Yiannopoulos views, tactics and rhetoric are profoundly contrary to our own, we are bound by the Constitution, the law, our values, and the campus’s Principles of Community to enable free expression across the full spectrum of opinion and perspective."
Let us not forget that Mr. Yiannopoulos is in fact a gay Jew with a POC partner. His politics just happen to be slightly more to the Right than the Left. It is this very ambiguity that seems to frustrate his opponents the most, for they wish identity to determine politic. The argument that he was going to reveal the names of undocumented students and that thus these actions were warranted has been thoroughly refuted. The claim was not even circulated until after the events.
While it is true that a large contingent of actual white supremacists went out yesterday for what they saw as a rematch, many more were simply Republicans and even Liberals who do not support violent tactics being used to shut down speakers; or who were supporting the nation-wide Tax Day effort. The “No Platform” tactic may fly in other, less-free countries; but American citizens will never tolerate having this constitutional freedom stripped from them. They recognize that they need those rights themselves, and that they must therefore protect them - even for their political opponents.
Antifa and sympathizers contest that the demonstration was a thinly-veiled white pride event by the increasingly dangerous and volatile Alt-right. They are convinced that this movement which catapulted Trump into the white house is destined to become the new Third Reich.
Is it? Well, it wasn't. But their actions in targeting Republican events have actually served to forge small, disparate, and fractious European heritage groups and actual white supremacist organizations into allies where once they were either unaware of one another; or else bitter rivals for membership. By providing an enemy to fight they have given leadership in the latter movement exactly what they wanted: apparent evidence of an organized assault on white people for their race. Ironically, they promote precisely the same sort of actions and for the same reasons as Antifa:
"We must become increasingly and intolerantly belligerent to the point where the system itself cannot function. It has dehumanized us and delegitimized our interests to the point where we have no other options. We therefore must smash this system through creating social chaos knowing that the power to destroy something is the power to control it."
If there were as many Antifa as there are white heritage organizations, this might not be a problem. However, there are not. Most Americans with left-leaning politics are not in fact Marxists. Furthermore, Antifa insists that any other analysis of race and race relations historically or at the present must itself be racist. In other words, if you do not believe that America is a white supremacist nation; and if you are not for a violent overthrow of the U.S. Government and its replacement with a fundamentally communist system, then you must therefore be a racist.
This ideology is pushing those who were either uninterested whites or more moderate Left individuals into the Right (and the Alt-right in particular), swelling its numbers. DNC politicians have remained largely silent as these events have been transpiring, no doubt fearing reprisal. After all, they have been pushing this us-vs.-them model of race relations (minus the overt communism) for over a decade to spur turnout in voters of color, women, and the LGBTQ community. Anyone who dares speak out now against these violent activities risks becoming a target for their violence as a traitor. Where are the men, women, and queers of conscience on the Left who will decry these actions for what they are: an assault on our First Amendment freedoms and civil liberties under the guise of anti-racism?
Ironically, while it was Antifa that tore down the barrier and started the melee for which they had come armed to the teeth, we are now asked to look upon videos of the fight they started and pity them. And as a matter of fact, I do. I pity them because they have been manipulated into believing that they are Freedom Fighters resisting the rise of the new Hitler. What they don't understand is that for every Hitler, there is a Kim Il-Sung. It matters not the political rhetoric – only the tactics used to silence opponents.
Let us be clear here who these folks are: for the most part these are disaffected youth; many of them queer; and some of them people of color. They indeed have experienced suffering over their identities; and tend to attribute all of their problems to that when the bulk has more to do with systemic poverty. Others have been made to believe that they are personally accountable for the actions of those who are racist simply because they share the same skin color. How easy, then, to manipulate them out into the streets to do the dirty work of a cowardly Liberal Elite – whom, if you asked the average Antifa foot soldier, they would say they hated almost as much as the Alt-right.
While I may pity them individually, that does not change the fact that they are engaging in activities that are immoral, illegal, unethical, and ultimately counter-productive. This whole spectacle is creating the absurd situation in which those of us who abhor violence of any kind must side with the enemy on the matter of Free Speech – because in this case it is we (or at least those claiming to speak for us) who have started the violence. What possible argument will we make on the day that the other side decides to meet us in our escalation and attack a Pride parade for promoting degeneracy?
This, to combat the rise of a “new Hitler” who can't even manage to organize an Easter Egg hunt? There are more of them; they are better trained; and better armed. If we were looking to foment a race war, we couldn't have planned it better. This is all utterly stupid.