Will College Campuses Give Rioters a License to Firebomb?
When police fail to defend the First Amendment and public order they endanger us all.
“I have been punched. I have been spit on. I have had my personal information posted online,” Naweed Tahmas, a Berkeley College Republican who helped invite Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus, told the media. He says that since the riots another student yelled in his face, accusing him of exercising “white privilege.”
Tahmas is actually a Persian-American, not a European-American, but that hardly matters for the purposes of racist shaming of conservatives.
Tahmas said that the Oakland police have received a death threat against the president of Berkeley College Republicans, warning “You can protect Milo, but you can’t protect [name of College Republican].”
Milo Yiannopoulis, in case you haven’t been paying attention, is a performance artist and a provocateur who’s become a folk hero to campus conservatives with his fearless (and incredibly vulgar) “Dangerous F****t” tour. What Milo says is sometimes repulsive, but it is protected by the Constitution. If only the authorities would enforce it.
In two of Milo’s recent appearances at taxpayer-supported public universities, violence broke out. The story in Seattle at the University of Washington has been weirdly underreported in national media. At a rally against Milo, a protester was shot. The student (or former student: it’s still not clear) who shot him turned himself into the police, yet has not been charged, strongly suggesting police have evidence that he was defending himself from physical attack by an anti-Milo, anti-Trump protester.
At Berkeley, home of the Free Speech movement in America, Milo’s appearance was cancelled when a riot broke out among the protesters. This was not just a case of feelings getting out of hand though: It was yet another appearance of “Black Bloc” protesting, a new technique encouraged by the socialist Left.
Masked, violent leftists seem to have learned from the horrifying success of the Ku Klux Klan, which for decades silenced dissent in a dozen American states.
Masked, Hooded Democrats with a Racialist Agenda
As Inside Higher Education reported, amid 1000 or so peaceful demonstrators some 150
did come to start fires, break windows and hurl rocks at police officers. … They wore black and concealed their faces with masks. They brought — and used — bats, metal rods, fireworks and Molotov cocktails to get their message across. In the process they undermined “the First Amendment rights of the speaker as well as those who came to lawfully assemble and protest his presence,” said a spokesperson for Berkeley.
Yet afterwards the college newspaper published at least five commentaries from Berkeley students and alums condoning the violence on the grounds that letting Milo speak is an act of violence. “Violence helped ensure safety of students,” an essay by one Berkeley student was headlined.
Yvette Felarca, a public middle school teacher, defended the Berkeley violence both to the LA Times and on Fox News:
“It wasn’t just people dressed in black who were acting militantly and everyone else is peace-loving Berkeley hippies,” said Yvette Felarca, a political organizer of By Any Means Necessary, an immigration and affirmative action coalition that seeks to build a mass militant movement,” reports the LA Times. “Everyone cheered when those barricades were dismantled. … Everyone was there with us in political agreement of the necessity of shutting it down, whatever it was going to take. It shows we have the power.”
Jake Shields, a World Series of Fighting welterweight, was not so enthusiastic. Emerging from a nearby restaurant where he says he watched a group of black masked men chasing a lone citizen while police stood by and did nothing. “That’s when I had to intervene, because no one is helping the guy, including the police,” Shields said. “Dude, you guys have your faces covered, you’re attacking people, you’re being f***ing fascists,” Shields told one of the masked assailants.
Violent men in masks with a racialist agenda, who are defended by the powerful, while police stand by and refuse to defend the innocent … America has been down this ugly road before. I’ll go ahead and say it: The “Black Bloc” seems to have learned from the horrifying success of the Ku Klux Klan, which for decades silenced dissent in a dozen American states.
Fascism in Canada
Things are even worse in Canada. Law enforcement there is close to declaring open season on intellectual and political dissent. Conservative students organized a panel at the University of Toronto to discuss threats to free speech on a wide range of issues, ranging from politics to climate change. The event was disrupted by thuggish protestors with profane chants, threats and false fire alarms. As the campus newspaper reports:
According to the event organizer, what [protestors] tried to do was called “no-platforming”, which is “an anti-high-fascist tactic, aimed at, if someone is trying to spread hate speech or fascism or violent rhetoric, […] you deny them the platform to actually express those views,” said the protest organizer, who further explained that the protesters joined outside the conference room when Levant started his speech.
The chants included “F*** white supremacy,” “F*** Climate Change Denial,” as well as chants against Trump and a “fascist USA.”
One of the invited speakers silenced by the protestors was publisher Ezra Levant. He responded:
“None of those words apply to me — I’m not American, and I’m not a fascist,” wrote Levant… in reference to the chants. “But the people dressed in black, wearing handkerchiefs over their mouths, carrying sticks, flipping over tables, and threatening a peaceful meeting on campus — those are actually fascists by definition.”
Levant says the Stormtroopers called his reporter Jay Fayza (who is black) a “white supremacist.” The Canadian Broadcast Company then ran a whole segment calling his media company, The Rebel, hateful and racist. Nora Loreto, a journalism union boss (yes they have journalism unions in Canada) tweeted out, “I’m getting closer and closer to publicly advocating camera smashing when people see The Rebel goons out and about.”
Levant, who left the mainstream media to found his own company, says he must now hire bodyguards for his reporters: “I know, it’s insane. This is Canada, not Russia or Venezuela. But that’s what life is like under Justine Trudeau and Rachel Notley and Kathleen Wynne,” he said. He called the protestors “anti-Semitic cowards don’t want to go on the record as Jew-bashing, gay-bashing racists. They’re ashamed of themselves. Same reason they wear masks at their riots.”
The Nation Praises Thuggish Attacks While Cops Cower
Meanwhile back the U.S., the mainstreaming of violence by the Left continues apace. On January 22, The Nation published a piece praising Black Bloc violence: “The transcendental experience of watching Roger Federer play tennis, David Foster Wallace wrote, was one of ‘kinetic beauty’… what Foster Wallace saw in a Federer Moment, I see in a video of a neo-Nazi Richard Spencer getting punched in the face.”
With a violent masked mob of 100 to 150 people creating as much as $600,000 in property damage, just one person was arrested.
Here is for me the most disturbing news from Berkeley: With a violent masked mob of 100 to 150 people creating as much as $600,000 in property damage, just one person was arrested. This was no accident. This was a deliberate police policy: “At Berkeley, the police officers felt that trying to get in the middle of the crowd would’ve sparked more violence and resulted in more severe injuries. They chose not to try to arrest the black bloc protesters, because they felt it would have compromised the safety of their students,” Inside Higher Education reported.
Other college law enforcement officials praised that approach: “It always could be worse,” University of Maryland College Park Police chief Mitchell said. “The property damage was disappointing and absolutely unlawful, but that certainly could’ve been worse as well. I applaud the way they handled the incident.”
I, on the other hand, applaud the way the NYPD handled Black Bloc protesters who tried to violently disrupt an NYU speech by libertarian Gavin McInnes the day after the Berkeley riots. Cops immediately moved in and arrested 11 people.
The Berkeley violence is clearly not a one-off — they are part of an increasingly organized and highly privileged Left’s plan to silence conservative dissent where it is most vulnerable: on college campuses.
Organized mobs are throwing firebombs to disrupt speech, destroy property, and endanger bystanders. When the authorities refuse to stop them they endanger us all.