Among colleges and universities, the University of California, Berkeley has — since the 1960s — held the title as the most radically liberal. Hailed by leftists as “the birthplace of Free Speech,” the university and the town from which it draws its name have long been a seedbed of communist ideology. With that communist ideology having now come of age, Berkeley is becoming the deathbed of Free Speech.
The campus and the surrounding town have erupted into chaos and riots recently over even the idea that conservative speakers would be allowed to present their views on the campus. And not surprisingly, the communist presence in the protest is visibile, despite media attempts to ignore this influence. Consider, for instance, the www.revcom.us (Revolutionary Communist Party) sign shown in this Associated Press photo at an April 15 Berkeley protest; the AP identified the protesters as “antifascist,” without mentioning “communist,” in the information provided with the photo.
For a campus that claims to value diversity in thought, the attack on free speech is more than hypocritical; it is telling. One thing that can be said of communists is that they are consistent in their tactics. In the current “Free Speech” battle, as in other times and places, the communists say one thing and mean another. Touting “Free Speech” to get their message heard, they immediately shout “hate speech” and “fascism” to silence their ideological opponents as soon as they have enough influence to do so. When shouting isn’t enough, they use violence or the threat of violence.
As The New American reported last week, that tired old play was used — with success — again to prevent conservative pundit Ann Coulter from speaking on the campus Thursday. The university’s cancellation of Coulter’s speech followed a familiar pattern. When Coulter was booked by conservative groups on campus, radical groups — who had used violence and the threat of violence to quash previous speeches by conservative speakers — began publicly planning and promoting riots. With the recent violence fresh in the minds of school administrators, the principle of Free Speech was jettisoned in the name of placating the radical groups responsible for the violence.
When Milo Yiannopoulos, who was at the time an editor for Breitbart, was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley in February, those same radical groups — operating by the communist playbook — organized violent riots that caused an estimated $100,000 worth of damage to the campus and resulted in several people being injured. Fires were set, property was destroyed, citizens and police officers were attacked. The riots led the UC Berkeley officials to cancel Yiannopoulos’ speech less than two hours before it was to begin.
Even the cancellation of the Milo speech was not enough to quell the violence, which spilled over into downtown Berkeley. In all of the violence, destruction, and lawlessness, one person was arrested. One. For “failure to disperse.” Why were the police so light-handed when all hell was breaking loose? Because it appears they had been told to stand down. That order seems to have come from Berkely mayor, Jesse Arreguin. His call for police to treat the subversive rioters with kid gloves is no anomaly; Arreguin has allied himself with those who planned and executed the violence on the city he is supposed to lead. For his part, Arreguin denies making that call, saying, “The strategy deployed by the police was not my decision, but the decision of the department based on professional judgment of the police department.” Of course, left out of his statement is the simple fact that the chief of police works for him. Passing the blame down the food chain is a diversion. Here’s a tip for Arreguin: The first rule of leadership is that you are responsible.
One of the groups responsible for terrorizing the campus and the city for the purpose of silencing any conservative voice is BAMN (By Any Means Necessary). The group — which takes its name from a line in a famous speech by Malcolm X, who also drank deeply from the poisoned well of Marxism — uses social media to promote its agenda, which includes violence and the threat of violence to bring about a spate of Marxist policies. Arreguin — it appears — is their man on the inside.
Arreguin had joined the BAMN Facebook group until it was reported that he was a member. He then removed himself from the Facebook group and issued a statement saying, “On social media, following or liking pages does not mean you support what that group is doing." He went on to say that he had joined the Facebook group to keep up with what they were doing, adding, “I did ‘unmember’ myself. I forgot that I had liked the page, honestly.” Perhaps. Or more likely, Arreguin — being politically savvy enough to run for and be elected as mayor of one of the nation’s most liberal cities — knew enough to know that a mayor being a member of a radical, violent, Marxist group would be interpreted by the other members of that group and the public at large exactly the way it was: as an endorsement.
Adding to the likelihood that his membership of the BAMN Facebook page was by design and not mere curiosity is the salient fact that he was also Facebook friends with Yvette Felarca, who — besides being a middle school teacher — is the Marxist radical leader and notional organizer of BAMN in Berkeley. Felarca not only advocates violence, she is an active participant. As can be seen in the video below, in June 2016, Felarca was involved in violently attacking a man in Sacramento for exercising the “Free Speech” her city is famous for supposedly giving birth to.
Warning: This video contains language some readers my find offensive.
Granted, this was at at a Neo-Nazi “protest” and any reasonable person would find the message of Neo-Nazis offensive. But that is not the point. The point is that his words were met with her — and her minions’ — violence. In a statement to Fox News after that and other attacks by herself and other BAMN members, Felarca defended the violence. As Fox News reported at the time:
Yvette Felarca, a BAMN national organizer, was unapologetic last June after her group shut down a Neo-Nazi protest in Sacramento that sent 10 people to the hospital.
"We will do it again,” she said. “The Nazis had to run and hide behind the police.”
And — lest it appear that Neo-Nazis are in any way special for receiving violence at her command —she likewise defended the actions of BAMN that shut down the Yiannopoulos speech in February. As can be seen in the video below, she said, “I think that the Left has been far too timid for way too long. And it’s why we’ve even gotten in this position where we have someone like Donald Trump leading a fascist movement as the president of the United States.” She called for “protests” that are “mass and militant.”
When asked about why having Yiannopoulos speak to the 500 people who had bought tickets, Felarca throws up a smokescreen rife with references to fascism, white supremacy, and Donald Trump. While she claims that she and her group are defending the rights of people, they are actually denying people the basic right to say and hear things that she finds disagreeable. She claims to be concerned that people will hear something and be offended; the reality is that she seems concerned that they will hear something and be convinced. Ideas — good and bad — have consequences, and the Felarcas of the world are determined to disallow certain ideas while demanding that others are all that can be heard. That is a sure sign of a weak position.
Marxists of every stripe resort to violence when the weakness of their argument fails to win the day.
As the “man on the inside,” Mayor Arreguin certainly has the right credentials. He was involved in the communist-on-its-face Occupy movement and an active participant in Black Lives Matter (BLM) “protests.” While many easily recognize the Marxism of Occupy, BLM is no less communistic, as this writer illustrated in a previous article.
Arreguin — having spent his political career allying himself with radical Marxist subversives — has helped create a situation where “Free Speech” is not free; it has to paid for in blood and fire and destruction.
Marx would be proud.
Photo: AP Images