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The circus is coming to town

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The rightwing crazy show is coming to Berkeley! And what a show it will be! The lunatic trifecta of Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter and Steve Bannon. It’s a wet dream for white supremacists, fascists, resenters, and the other dregs that still robotically support a President who’s circling the drain.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported the news yesterday: a shadowy, possibly fake group that calls itself The Berkeley Patriot has invited the clowns to speak on the U.C. Berkeley campus two weeks from now, for what they call “Berkeley Free Speech Week.” With no information on their website about who they are, it’s hard to figure them out—although a link on the site leads to their Facebook page, where the only “team member” is identified as Bryce Kasamoto, who claims he attended (but apparently did not graduate from) U.C. Berkeley, and was active in the Orange County (California) Republican Party. Thank goodness for Twitter, where Kasamoto also has an account, which tells us a little more about him. The first item on his feed—something he retweeted—is from an anti-black website so vile, Twitter makes you sign off on a warning before it lets you see it.

(Segue: It’s always amusing to me when someone from a non-white ethnic background, which Kasamoto seems to be, is anti-black. I mean, does he not perceive the irony?)

It’s clear that Kasamoto, Milo & Co. are itching for a fight. They talk about “free speech” but what they’re really looking for is to rile people up, provoke violence and grab headlines—and make a little money while they’re at it. That they aren’t serious about a true issues-oriented forum is proven by some of the inane topics Milo told the Chronicle they’ll address in the talks, including:

“Feminism Awareness Day,” to be presided over by “a drag queen,” and in which “male-only speakers…will be telling women what they’ve been doing wrong”

“Islamic Peace & Tolerance Day,” which will feature “criticism of Muslim practices”

and an “awards ceremony” called “Mario Savio Is Dead.” Savio was, of course, the firebrand of the Free Speech Movement on the U.C. Berkeley campus in the 1960s; he died in 1996.

The issue of free speech lies at the core of the controversies that have erupted at U.C. Berkeley ever since scheduled rallies by Milo and Coulter were canceled, last spring, due to fears of riots and violence. One aspect of the debate has been over who caused the violence that had earlier erupted prior to Milo’s speech: the rightwing brawlers who showed up prepared for battle, or “antifa,” the anti-fascist, masked fighters who came to resist them. It’s impossible to pinpoint who started what, since in these large crowds, fighting can erupt at several places at the same time, for multiple reasons. What’s beyond debate, though, is that if the rightwing provocateurs didn’t show their faces in Berkeley, there would be no violence. So why do they insist on coming here?

Obvious reason: They want violence. They welcome it. Some bloody noses, a concussion or two, broken shop windows, a tire set on fire, cops under attack—it’s all fuel for the hatred that the right loves to stir up on Breitbart, and Trump on twitter. The right badly needs a villain. The left has a whole collection of villains: Trump and his greedy family, white supremacists, the KKK, xenophobes, misogynists, homophobes, neo-nazis, survivalists, religious fanatics, angry old white haters like Jeff Sessions—all of them tempting targets to saddle the Republican Party with. That’s good political tactics! But the right has no viable targets anymore. Obama’s gone, living in dignified semi-silence. Hillary’s still around, but really, nobody except a few op-ed freaks at the Wall Street Journal gives a damn about the emails or servers. The right is trying out Comey for the villain role, but that’s a dead end. And their resurrection of Bill Clinton’s affairs gets them no points at all, except to reveal their desperation (and prompt investigative journalists to dig up lurid tales of their own indiscretions).

So the right badly needs an enemy, and it thinks it’s found one in the form of antifa. Don’t get me wrong: I’m as against masked idiots trashing downtown Berkeley and Oakland as anyone. These people are not doing the left any favors; they should be arrested, charged and maximally punished. But antifa is a very weak reed to attach a conservative movement to. The right can stigmatize antifa all they want, but being anti-antifa is not a powerful rallying cry to mobilize tens of millions of Americans.

On the other hand, the threat from the right wing is. It’s clear and present: It was Adolf Hitler’s lasting gift to give the world a symbol of the horrors of fascist, white supremacist madness. The right wing in America, whether they like it or not, has inherited Hitler’s mantle, and that has galvanized The Resistance.

The Berkeley Patriot event should not be permitted, in order to prevent violence. If U.C. Berkeley, under threat of a lawsuit, must allow it, then it should be countered with a massive anti-Trump demonstration. We do not need to resort to violence to be effective. A turnout of five or ten thousand freedom lovers, of all races and ethnicities, will overwhelm a dreary gathering of two or three hundred paunchy, pathetic MAGA-capped ranters. That’s all we need to do, folks—a show of force. Let Breitbart shriek as much as they like about “censorship.” Nobody listens to them anyway, except the white supremacist clowns, and they simply don’t matter.

  1. I knew that Coulter and Bannon weren’t going anywhere, but I thought we had heard the last from Milo. I guess I was wrong.
    And speaking of wrong, you’re wrong about one thing Steve: “and make a little money while they’re at it. ”
    It should be “a lot of money.”

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