More shenanigans at Berkeley—by the Left

There was a big “anti-hate” demonstration at Berkeley yesterday, and good for that. In fact, it was so intimidating to the alt-Right that hardly any of the latter showed up; as the Los Angeles Times reports, their demonstration was canceled. Nevertheless, a few hapless Trump supporters and alt-righters showed up anyway, and, since the odious Antifa thugs were there, the alt-righters were roundly beaten up or doused with pepper spray. Photographers and journalists were also intimidated or even attacked by Antifas:

Thousands of demonstrators, carrying signs with slogans like “Stand Against Hate,” descended on Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Park on Sunday for what many hoped would be a peaceful march against bigotry and President Trump.

But it was soon punctuated by tear gas and a scattering of violent skirmishes. Some anti-fascist protesters, wearing black and with their faces covered, chased or beat Trump supporters and organizers who had scheduled and then canceled the “anti-Marxist” rally, citing concerns over safety.

Police, and in some cases other counter-protesters, stepped in to halt the violence or escort the victims away from the area. Officers reported 14 arrests, many of them for violations of the city’s emergency rules banning masks, sticks and potential weapons inside the demonstration area.

The clashes came despite widespread calls from activists and elected officials across the Bay Area for peaceful civil disobedience and underscores Berkeley’s growing reputation for violent reaction by the far left. Other protests earlier this year in the city turned ugly, with far-left and far-right forces fighting in the streets.

. . . In Berkeley, the demonstration of more than 4,000 people pulled heavily from area labor unions, church groups and liberal activists — but also scores of young people clad in all black, some carrying shields and others with bandanas pulled over their faces.

The video below was tweeted by a senior editor at the Leftist magazine Mother Jones:

The Times continues, with the Leftists’ belated recognition of what this kind of publicity will do, for such violence is never good for its enactors:

Some in Berkeley worried that Sunday’s chaos, captured on video and quickly disseminated through social media, would provide unwanted ammunition to Trump and his supporters.

“We can’t keep producing this audio-visual propaganda,” said Andrew Noruk, a counter-protester who denounced the fights. “It is recruiting for the right.”

Indeed it is; we’re now in the age of Instant Social Media, which can put out stuff like this within minutes of it happening. It’s too late to go back, and a good thing, too.

But wait—there’s more! Intimidation of reporters!

Berkeleyside has a running report on the activities, and this is the final arrest toll (there’s no count on who was on which side, but I’m betting most were Antifas or their minions):

9 p.m.Berkeley Police statement: BPD said 13 arrests were made Sunday in Berkeley on a variety of charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, felony assault and violations of the Berkeley Municipal Code. In a Nixle alert sent out around 8:20 p.m., BPD spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats reported that one police officer was injured during an arrest and several officers were struck with paint. Six people were injured and treated by paramedics. Two of those individuals were transported to local hospitals for treatment.

Those arrested were: Seth Vasquez, 25, of Berkeley; Mark Misohink, 23, of Berkeley; James Dominic, 23, of Oakland; Kristopher Wyrick, 39, of Alpine; Harlan Pankau, 38, of Jamul; Levi Smith, 32, of Sparks, Nevada; Sean Hines, 20, from Santa Rosa; Brittany Moorman, 26, of Oakland; Yesenia Mendez, 22; Emily Gillespie, 24, of Berkeley; Sean Dougan, 47, from Portland, Oregon; Rachel Moore, 40, of Oakland; and Joshua Phillips, 36, of Oakland.

More intimidation:

Back to the L.A. Times:

Counter-protesters clad in black pounced when Joey Gibson, founder of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, showed up in the park. Masked protesters began pepper spraying people and used their shields to hit people who appeared to be with Gibson.

Gibson, who was behind Saturday’s aborted rally in San Francisco, was handcuffed and escorted away by police. Assistant Chief Jim Libby of the California Highway Patrol’s Golden Gate Division later described the officers’ action as a “rescue.”

Anti-fascist protesters also beat one person wearing an American flag. Some threatened to break the cameras of anyone who filmed them, including journalists. Others set off purple smoke bombs.

One counter-protester, in tears, said she worried that Sunday’s event would be tied to violence. Another, who helped break up a fight, was upset over the altercations.

“We need to get antifa out of here,” said Jack Harris, 20, of San Francisco.

Yes, they sure do. But I wonder why they handcuffed Gibson if he was just being “rescued”!

But brace yourself: this is only the beginning. Now that UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ has announced that right-wingers Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, and Milo Yiannopoulos will be speaking at Berkeley this fall, and that the University is committed to not only allowing them to speak but to protecting them and arresting anyone who becomes violent. As Christ said:

The university has the responsibility to provide safety and security for its community and guests, and we will invest the necessary resources to achieve that goal. If you choose to protest, do so peacefully. That is your right, and we will defend it with vigor. We will not tolerate violence, and we will hold anyone accountable who engages in it.

My prediction: the “counterprotestors” will show up in force, as they did when Yiannopoulos spoke before, and either try to prevent people from entering the lectures, try to shout the lecturers down, or even run riot in the streets. Most of the violence and arrests will be of Leftists.  We simply have to stop doing this: it doesn’t help our own cause, though Antifa, being mostly anarchists, aren’t really fully with the Progressive Left: they don’t mind unilateral violence or damaging property, and despise the cops, which some of they equate to the Klan.

Meanwhile, as reported by the right-wing site Campus Reform, both a Berkeley professor and the University’s student body president have come out against free speech and Christ’s decision.  Michael Mark Cohen, associate teaching professor in African American Studies and African Diaspora Studies, was said to have tweeted this (I can’t find them on his account, but Campus Reform says Cohen deleted some tweets):

But these are still up:


Dr. Cohen apparently doesn’t understand free speech, and seemingly wants to ban “hate speech.”

Finally, the student body president at Berkeley, Zaynab Abdulqadir-Morris tweeted not just the “z” tweet above, approved by Cohen, but these:

No, lives are not at risk at Berkeley; that’s a gross exaggeration (note that she quotes Chancellor Christ’s statement).

Yep, Abdulqadir-Morris is apparently in favor of banning “provacateurs”, as these messages show:

Poor Berkeley; some of its students and faculty have not a clue about the meaning of the First Amendment. They want to be The Deciders, and if they had their way, any speakers they didn’t like would be banned.

Poor Berkeley, but thank Ceiling Cat that Carol Christ is the Chancellor.

h/t: Grania, Orli


  1. GBJames
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Antifa is not a threat to the right. It is a threat to the left.

  2. Linda Calhoun
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    If the “antifa” people are actually those who caused the violence, they really need to be aware of how counterproductive violence is.

    But, when I read this, I couldn’t help but wonder if the violent people were plants. This was a strategy used during the anti-Vietnam war protests by the Nixon administration. I’m sure it has been considered by Trump’s crew as well.


    • Posted August 28, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      You can stop wondering. They aren’t.

      • Linda Calhoun
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        I believe you.

        I’m curious, though, as to how you know that.


        • Bruce Gorton
          Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          I’ve argued with a few. In fact Dan Arel ended up leaving the atheist movement because most of us wouldn’t follow him down that particular rabbit hole.

          They’re not plants.

        • Posted August 28, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          The ones here in Seattle are very real. I live on Capitol Hill and know a few. They took part in violence at the WTO protests some years ago as well as the more recent anti-Trump protests here. They go intending to do violence, if not against people, then against property. There is no arguing with them and they are not “plants” by the right wing.

          Plants to undermine the opponents? Frankly, I think neither side is smart enough or competent enough to pull off such a charade. That’s the problem with most of these kinds of conspiracy ideas – the people being considered are motivated by hate and anger, two things which makes subterfuge extremely difficult especially by those of limited intellectual abilities.

    • jay
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      As much as the narrative would like to present it as right wing violence, that’s simply not the case here. If a few provocateurs were sent in, why is it that the demonstrators refuse to out them to the police? This has been a frequent tactic. Black clad ‘antifa’ strike violently and the ‘peaceful’ crowd quickly closes around them to make identification difficult.

    • Ullrich Fischer
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      More evidence that Antifa is really a fascist organization. Remember the Reichstag fire? That was organized covertly by the Nazis who claimed is showed how violent and out of control the Left in Germany was. Antifa’s behaviour is in this foul tradition.

      • Posted August 28, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        There is no organization to the Antifa here in the U.S. Many are fascists, no doubt, but they are not organized.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        My understanding is it’s still an open historical question whether the Reichstag fire was a Nazi false-flag operation, or just a feckless commie plot that Hitler took advantage of.

        With regard to antifa, I think we should go with Occam and assume they are what they claim, in the absence of some further evidence.

        • GBJames
          Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          Anyone old enough to remember events in and around 1970 on college campuses will know that there’s no need to evoke false-flag operations to account for Antifa behavior. I was in Madison and well recall how the political fringe on the left can rationalize political violence.

    • Kevin
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      If I were a Christian and felt persecuted by secularism and burned down a local church and made it look like an atheist had done it I would still be responsible for burning down a church.

      It does not take much evidence to show a plant. There is reasonable evidence to believe these are not plants. And if they are plants, it would not take long to show that they are.

  3. jwthomas
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Notice that the majority of
    those arrested were not from the city of Berkeley. The demonstrators use the city and the campus because they can get instant media attention there. They do not necessarily represent local residents.

    • Posted August 28, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Interesting. Also I expect the planned speakers (Shapiro, Coulter, Yiannopoulos) are just setting up these engagements in the heart of the Left just to get this effect. This gives them a big fat talking point in the future.
      Seems like different sides are basically using Berkeley to their own ends.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        That is precisely what is going on.

        • Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

          The left if full of useful idiots. Same as it ever was.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        People like antifa should recognize that Coulter et al only get the talking points because of Antifa violence. If the protests were peaceful and the Alt-Right were allowed to speak, there’d be nothing for the Alt-Right to complain about.

        What do they say? “There were thousands of polite, friendly, relaxed, happy people who disagreed with us.”

  4. Posted August 28, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    If I may quote moral philosopher Peter Singer’s recent column at length:

    “Some antifa activists trace the origin of the movement to groups that fought against fascists in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. In Germany, in the years before Hitler came to power, the Nazis’ paramilitary Sturmabteilung (Stormtroopers, also known as the ‘Brownshirts’) beat up, sometimes fatally, Jews and political opponents. In self-defense, the left responded with its own militias: the Communist Party’s Red Front Fighters and the Social Democrats’ Iron Front.

    The result was an escalation of street violence, and a sense, among the wider public, that law and order were breaking down. Many came to believe that a firm hand was required to restore order and stability. A firm hand was exactly the image that Hitler was trying to project, and as the violence worsened, the Nazi vote rose. We all know how that tragedy played out.

    Is it far-fetched to think that history could repeat itself in this way? To antifa activists who see violence as the answer to the far right, it should not be. They are the ones who are drawing the historical parallels. The Times quotes an antifa activist: ‘If we just stand back, we are allowing them to build a movement whose end goal is genocide.’ If that is the danger, we need to find a better way of combating it than the tactic that so plainly failed in Germany.”

    From this recent column:

    • Linda Calhoun
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      There’s a whole lot of ground between just “standing back” and violence.


    • Eric Grobler
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      “They are the ones who are drawing the historical parallels.”
      Perhaps ignoring that violence has been a tatic used by the Bolsheviks (before the Nazis).
      Thus claiming that violence from the left is purely in response to violence from the right is just ignorance (or dishonesty).

      It is thus possible that some hard line communists in Germany might have resorted to violence during the 30’s even in the absense of the Nazis.

      • jay
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        The recent book “Days of Rage” covers the (largely) left violence in the early 70s, including over 2000 bombings.

        [Meanwhile, Charles Barkley has been declared a white supremacist for suggesting that black people should forget about statues and pay more attention to education, and fighting crime in their neighborhoods.]

        • jay
          Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          BTW I should mention that one person behind those bombings was pardoned by Obama. Several others are still active as left heroes.

          • Posted August 28, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

            Oscar Lopez Rivera was not convicted of any bombings and Obama didn’t pardon him – he commuted the last three months of Rivera’s sentence; his sentence was commuted in January 2017 and he was scheduled to be released in March 2017.

            Clemency proceedings began under the Clinton administration.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

              There you go with your “facts” again; don’t you know the rightwing makes its own reality?

            • mordacious1
              Posted August 29, 2017 at 6:11 am | Permalink

              He stated he was “behind those bombings”, not that he was convicted. He was originally charged with conspiracy to transport explosives to destroy government property and he freely admitted to having committed every act for which he was charged. The guy is a terrorist, plain and simple.

  5. rwilsker
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Since you like to highlight various pieces of music, this might by an apropos time for “I’m younger than that now” by the Byrds.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      That’s actually a Dylan tune, one of a number that the Byrds covered, along with “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.”

      • Ned
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        “My Back Pages” is the title.

  6. Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    In an article from the LA Times, Andrew Noruk was also screamed at for being a Nazi. Which utterly confused him because he was there protesting Trump supporters. He just happened to be wearing a shirt that protested BOTH Republicans AND Democrats, a position I sympathize with. When the word “Nazi” moves from actual Nazis to anyone not toeing the radical left ideological line, all these #AlwaysPunchNazi folks are going to regret making that the slogan of the “resistance”.

    How much propaganda footage of Leftist violence does Fox News have to show before the Toddler in Chief abuses his power and issues a state of emergency? Martial law? I don’t care how that “wouldn’t actually work”, it would tear the country in two and the very defiance of such an edict would render the government useless, with the National Guard losing a stable command structure. The government works because the people who run it somewhat respect its foundations. Trump does not respect anything but himself, and over a third of the country is with him. A lot of the same people who had wet-dreams about fighting an Obama led force to take their freedoms away will be more than happy to watch Trump take away everyone else’s and even take up arms in another civil war, only this one wouldn’t be neatly separated by the Mason-Dixon line, it’ll be a mishmash of frenemies in rural areas and cities not sure where they or the other stands.

    I fear things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

    • Posted August 28, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      “Emergency does not create power. Emergency does not increase granted power or remove or diminish the restrictions imposed upon power granted or reserved. The Constitution was adopted in a period of grave emergency. Its grants of power to the federal government and its limitations of the power of the States were determined in the light of emergency, and they are not altered by emergency.”

      — Justice Charles Evans Hughes
      (1862-1948) Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

      That’s not to say that Trump or some other authoritarian with the power wouldn’t try.

  7. Hempenstein
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    It would not surprise me that Antifa is – wittingly or not – receiving financial support from rightwing sources bent on ramping things up so that everything collapses. That was what Bannon wanted.

  8. michael
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I am a retired, white, ex-small business owner, but I am also a tree-hugging faggot…ok gay man. I am disgusted with Berkeley’s fascist left and the BPD. The same is true with Trump and the alt.right. Extremism is wrong.

    what is anti-marxism? I have read Amber and Joey’s statements. They say they disavow racism, nazis, supremeists, violence and hate. They say they want to discuss conservative values and invite intelligent discourse with others. I am not offended or feel threatened by that. Is that what they really mean…we will never know. Such a rally I would expect bring some alt.right people to it. Just like yesterdays counter protest was attended by violent anarchist.

    Just because someone is a trump supporter doesn’t mean they are a bad person and deserves to get their head bashed in. Personally I think they are stupid, but just my opinion.

    And here is a scary thought about this thing…The counter protesters, with great ideals, assemble against hate, rascism, nazism, supremeism etc. They follow what they are told. That those people, anti-marxist, have no right to be in Berkeley, they are evil, impure. I read somewhere about 1930’s Germany, just the other side.

    I think the rally, and a peaceful gathering of concerned citizens should have happened. It is called free speech and right to assembly. Differences of opinion should be freely, intelligently and peacefully discussed. If the rally was to be a platform to spew hate, then all concerned citizens should be vocal, peaceful protesters. But listen first instead of doing what you are told.

    One last thing. I like the outing of the fascist that attended the Charlottesville attendees, I also would encourage the outing of the violent anarchist at the Berkeley event. People should be held accountable for their actions. There is no place in society for either group

  9. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    More evidence that Antifa is really a fascist organization. Remember the Reichstag fire? That was organized covertly by the Nazis who claimed is showed how violent and out of control the Left in Germany was. Antifa’s behaviour is in this foul tradition.

  10. dd
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Why is it that among whites are among the most oppressive and totalitarian people teaching in Africana studies?

    I have seen this happen again and again…making up for their whiteness?

    • Ryan
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      It depends on what level of abstraction you want to use to understand their motivations.

      Alt-left status can be endlessly accumulated, so followers are incentivized to constantly one-up each other at spotting racism and repenting for the sins of their ancestors. It starts with small and reasonable concessions, but as the low-hanging fruit gets taken they must escalate.

      People within the bubble become a proverbial frog in boiling water – the crazy sneaks up slowly and is rewarded by peers so everything seems normal. From the outside, however, book banning, statue removal, punching nazis, lived experience, and cultural appropriation starts to look a little nutty. This dichotomy is a sign that the movement is reaching the limit of sustainability. Once the alt-left brand is sufficiently tarnished, they will find themselves unable to recruit.

      Humans are hard wired to believe in *something* so you see the same patterns repeat in religion, politics, even the softer sciences. Sustainable beliefs need an “end-point” where followers are “good enough” or they eventually turn inward.

      Imagine if Christianity had a limited number of spots in heaven, and were reserved for followers who repented the most. It would be impossible for such a belief system to persist – the most devout followers would escalate their behavior to unsustainable extremes.

  11. Mark Reaume
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    For a group that purports to be against hate, they sure to hate the hateful people. This must be a form of self-loathing.

  12. alexandra Moffat
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Could they or some of them be agents provocateurs? That could certainly be in trumpets’ play book.

    • Posted August 28, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I think that claims of false flags are the last refuge of those unwilling to admit that some of those who they sympathize with might not be nice people.

      I think it is best to never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.

      • Travis
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Or more accurate to this case… (who are you ascribing stupidity rather than malice to?)

        I think it’s best to not reach for conspiracies unless there is strong evidence for it. Why would someone like Trump want to fund false flags? He can piss off half the country just by tweeting at no cost or risk

      • Posted August 29, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        This is true, but we already know there have been APs at various demonstrations in the past – most notably at anti-international (sic) financial institution protests etc., so it isn’t altogether implausible.

        That said, I see no positive evidence in its favour here.

  13. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    When interpreting protest like this, what are we to make of the argument that in general, the protesters don’t have jobs, or that people with families, elderly, etc. aren’t there? I imagine it takes a good deal of effort and time commitment to do these things. Some lives’ schedules don’t allow that kind of freedom.

    I think the other argument, that e.g. George Soros “bankrolls” protests like the Women’s march might be a misrepresentation of a group of people that simply join up and share rides, lodging, to go together, but the idea that someone would simply collect cash to show up and stand there – completely uninterested in the issues, but just add to the crowd – sounds unlikely.

    Last comment: I think hate is a natural emotion, and therefore unhealthy to seek to kill it. If we show how to recognize hate, we might at best contain it, perhaps weed it out. I can recognize when I feel like I hate something, and I know that means I have to find a way to solve the problem. “Anti-hate” – that’s not an official slogan, is it? – why not “Love”, like in the 60’s? Summer Of Love? What happened to that? No one takes it seriously?

  14. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Well in that first tweet (and we don’t know what went down before the video started) the Trump supporter seems to have brought it on himself. If I was compiling an indictment of antifa that’s not the one I’d use.


  15. nate
    Posted August 29, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    “… Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, and Milo Yiannopoulos will be speaking at Berkeley this fall…”

    To what end? These are not mere ‘alternate voices’, these are rabble-rousing, disinformation-spewing bigots. Can the right not find an actual intelligent, rational group of people to provide a counter-point?

    • Posted October 7, 2017 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      Someone recently invited Dawkins – who is hardly “right”, but was considered such because of his anti-Islam stance – remember how this ended? Muslim bullies convinced the host to disinvite Dawkins. I know of the event from this site.
      If few rational voices are heard from the right, maybe the violent left who silence them carry part of the blame.

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