“If you look at them, it’s ridiculous,” David Marquis, a senior at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Los Angeles Times. “You’ve got a guy with purple hair with a f****** lightsaber talking about Hitler. It’s hard for me to take any of this seriously.”
Marquis is quite understandably weary of the continuing protests on the campus, but the reality is, this is serious. Left-wing radicals across the country, not just at Cal, a school that has long held a very liberal reputation, are determined to use force to shut down opposing viewpoints.
On Tuesday, four people were arrested after a fight broke out in an “empathy tent,” between leftist activists and conservative students. The empathy tent was set up by Edwin Fulch as a place for protesters to seek refuge from the protests around them.
Joey Gibson, who leads a conservative student group known as Patriot Prayer, organized a protest against the attempt to silence conservative free speech on the campus. The rally was a reaction to the cancellation of a “Free Speech Week” that was expected to feature Milo Yiannopoulos, a popular conservative speaker. But Antifa protesters were determined to disrupt the pro-free speech rally and got into an altercation with Gibson and other conservatives inside the empathy tent. Fights later even broke out at a nearby city park. At least four people wound up being arrested.
Gibson posted on Facebook that he was wanting to bring attention to “disgusting things happening at Berkeley.”
Ricky Joseph Monzon, 20, of Las Vegas was arrested for carrying a banned weapon. Yvonne Felarca, a California teacher, was charged with battery and resisting arrest. Eddy Robinson, a 47-year-old from Oakland was charged with participating in a riot and with resisting arrest.
While it may be difficult for students not actually involved in the protests and counter-protests to take seriously such episodes, the reality is that it is very serious. It is quite clear that from the East Coast (Charlottesville, Virginia) to the West Coast (Berkeley, California), radical leftists, such as Antifa, are determined to prevent students and others from even hearing an alternative viewpoint to leftist ideology.
Mike Isaacson, a founder of the Smash Racism “Antifa” organization in Washington, has explained the radical leftist viewpoint: “There is the question of whether these people should feel safe organizing as Nazis in public, and I don’t think they should.… I don’t think that is something that we should protect.”
Of course, it should be noted that it has long been a common tactic of the Left to dismiss those with whom it disagrees as either Nazis, Fascists, or the Ku Klux Klan. That way they can then justify denying the right of free speech and free assembly to its opposition, as happened in Berkeley on the University of California campus.
When most Americans hear the terms "white supremacists," "neo-Nazis," and "fascists," they probably imagine Klan members wearing white sheets, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini, and it is, in fact, the Left's intention to associate those groups with the political Right. But the reality is that those groups have more in common with the Left than with the Right. After all, Hitler’s political party was the National Socialist party (Nazi being shorthand for National Socialist), while Mussolini once edited a socialist newspaper. And the ideology of the Klan is hardly conservative.
Unfortunately, such violent confrontations as happened in Berkeley, when allowed by either college authorities or local law enforcement (usually at the direction of their liberal superiors at City Hall), have the effect of advancing the cause of Marxist socialists such as Antifa. And that is why such violent confrontations, even when instigated by ridiculous-looking participants with purple hair and lightsabers, are quite serious.
Image: Screenshot of video on Facebook about Patriot Prayer march