This September at the University of California, Berkeley is going to be one for the history books, whether it will be just a footnote or have a chapter devoted to it remains to be seen.
The conservatives and the alt-right are coming to the campus to speak. Among them Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos and possibly former White House aide Steve Bannon.
This is throwing red meat at hungry pit bulls.
The Oakland-Berkeley area is the U.S. epicentre of black bloc anarchists and the Antifa.
They live to violently confront the
types of conservative and alt-right speakers that will be coming to the Berkeley campus.
The university’s new chancellor, Carol T. Christ, has vowed to restore free speech on campus, saying in August that it was “critical for the Berkeley community to protect this right.” Resilience is “the surest form of safe space,” she told students, and “we would be providing you less of an education” if “we tried to protect you from ideas that you may find wrong, even noxious.”
And so the scene is set.
It should be noted that Christ was named to her new position by University of California President Janet Napolitano, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security. It is not clear how much back stage directing is being done by Napolitano but it certainly provides both sides with the post-event opportunity to claim it was all a DHS set up, if the narrative calls for such.
Also as part of the scene will be Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin. He has described himself as an "unapologetic progressive," and has said he wants to “restore Berkeley to the forefront of progressive leadership on the environment and social justice.”
He has already asked the university to cancel "controversial" speakers.
It is suspected that he may have played a role in what appeared to be the stand down of Berkeley police which allowed the black bloc and Antifa to go at the alt-right and Trump supporters in earlier skirmishes.
And so Christ, backed by a former head of the DHS, is going to allow the speeches with a Berekely mayor who no doubt is sympathetic to the protesters that will appear.
Berkeley school officials in the past have signalled how dangerous they have thought things could get.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Past administrators were so intimidated by student protesters that the university installed a $9,000 emergency exit in the chancellor’s office, which soon became known as an “escape hatch.”Christ, with an escape hatch, this is, of course, new.
WSJ also fills us in on Milo's warm up appearance earlier this year:
And when Mr. Yiannopoulos tried to speak on campus last February, Antifa activists threw Molotov cocktails, used commercial-grade fireworks as grenades, shattered windows and set fires, causing about $100,000 in damage.Shapiro is scheduled to speak in Zellerbach Hall on September 14. He has paid a $15,000 security fee:
Yiannopoolous, Coulter and Bannon (if he shows) are scheduled to speak during a three-day event, September. 24-27.Re: Berkeley:— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 28, 2017
1. Berkeley has agreed to host us. They say they support free speech.
2. They required us to pay a $15K security fee. (1/)
We have over 2,500 signups for Berkeley...and they are saying they're not going to release tickets until two days before the event, minimum.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 5, 2017