Leftist UC Berkeley students and outsiders rioted last night to prevent Milo Yiannopoulos from delivering a David Horowitz Freedom Center-sponsored speech demanding the end of “sanctuary campuses” that harbor illegal aliens. Milo's address, which was canceled amid violent mob attacks, fire-setting, and wanton property destruction, had been scheduled to mark the launch of the Freedom Center’s #nosanctuarycampusforcriminals campaign.
“One thing we do know for sure: the Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down,” Yiannopoulos, tech editor at Breitbart News, said after being safely evacuated from the campus.
“This is what tolerance looks like at UC Berkeley,” Mike Wright, a Berkeley College Republicans member told SFGate as smoke bombs exploded nearby. He said paint was thrown on his person. “It’s sad.”
“The so-called ‘sanctuary movement’ is a concerted effort by left-wing administrations in major cities to thwart the purposes of the Patriot Act, undermine federal immigration law, and cripple the efforts of the Department of Homeland security to protect American citizens from terrorist threats,” David Horowitz, founder and CEO of the Freedom Center, said on Jan. 31.
“Thanks to the efforts of left-wing activists and administrators, this seditious movement has now spread to our colleges and universities.”
Backed by the Freedom Center, Yiannopoulos, an outspoken gay, Jewish, Greek-born British citizen who ardently supports President Trump, was on campus to demand that federal grants to UC Berkeley be withdrawn and that university officials like UC President Janet Napolitano and Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks who endanger their students with their illegal alien-shielding policies be prosecuted.
UC President Napolitano, formerly President Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary, is under the microscope because, as head of the taxpayer-supported University of California system, she is deliberately harboring hundreds of illegal aliens attending UC system schools. She has forbidden campus police from working with immigration law enforcement and provided $5 million to aid the illegals UC is sheltering from ICE.
The University of California system even provides legal aid to illegal alien students who wish to keep breaking U.S. immigration laws.
The executive director of the University of California Undocumented Legal Services Center at the UC Davis School of Law explained to Rolling Stone in December what a sanctuary campus was.
“Basically it’s a concept that says, ‘You’re safe here, and your immigration status, we won’t ask,’” said Maria Blanco. “’We won’t turn you over. We won’t turn your records over.’”
Not all the rioters were from Berkeley.
Many of those dressed black bloc-style so police can’t identify them appear to be associated with the “antifa” movement. Antifa may be short for anti-fascist but these thugs, usually a mix of anarchists and communists, use violent fascistic tactics against their targets. These terrorists do not tolerate opposing views. Before the riots broke out those gathered carried signs that read “hate speech is not free speech.” Signs from the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PLS) also showed up in Berkeley.
Antifa is also involved in the protests and melees at airports nationwide launched in opposition to President Trump’s Executive Order 13769 which as of Jan. 27 temporarily banned visitors from a handful of terrorism-plagued Muslim nations.
The Berkeley police had reportedly been given a “stand down” order which allowed rioters to generate mayhem. Later when the police declared the throng of troublemakers an unlawful assembly and ordered those present to leave, the mob chanted “you go first!”
After leaving the campus Yiannopoulos reflected on the night’s events in a video on his Facebook page.
I don’t want to get into wild conspiracy theorizing or pointing fingers but it’s been noted by a number of people including Tucker Carlson at Fox News that the police presence did not seem to be particularly aggressive this evening and that’s something that I witnessed and that my security detail witnessed too. There was a sort of sit back, let it happen approach.
I was evacuated, really, at the first sign of trouble. Trouble did get a lot worse after I did leave so I think I’d’ve had to leave anyway. So this event may never have got off the ground. It seems as though the university and police didn’t really want it to happen but the fact that on an American college campus, a place of higher education, a place of learning in America which I’d come to, as a visitor from the United Kingdom where we don’t have a First Amendment, hoping that this would be somewhere where you could be, do, and say anything, where you could express your views, express your opinions, crack some jokes, make people think, make people laugh, free from violent responses to political ideas. I thought America was the one place where that would be possible.
I am, of course, not the racist or the sexist or anything else that the posters that they put up claim that I am. They do that in order to legitimize their own violence against you. But even if I were, even if the things that they said about me were true, this still wouldn’t be an appropriate response to ideas.
The rioting is amply documented on social media.
Twitter is overflowing with video footage from Berkeley last night showing rioters beating people thought to be conservatives or supporters of Yiannopoulos or President Trump with poles and spraying mace into their eyes. One video appeared to show an unconscious man lying face down in the street being beaten with a shovel. The rioters even provided a soundtrack to accompany their violence, giving the insurrection a rave-like quality as “We Found Love” by recording artist Rihanna was blasted out by loudspeakers.
“Kill fascists” was spray-painted on a shop window. A Starbucks outlet was looted. ATMs at a Bank of America branch were smashed.
Of course any students participating in the mayhem yesterday should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and expelled from Berkeley. Teaching and administrative staff may also have been involved in the violence and if so they too should be dealt with severely.
But given the University of California system’s full-throated embrace of lawlessness, don’t hold your breath.
Local authorities aren’t much better.
The mayor of Berkeley, Jesse Arreguin (D), seemed to green-light the riots in a Twitter post. “Using speech to silence marginalized communities and promote bigotry is unacceptable,” he tweeted, in a reference to Yiannopoulos. “Hate speech isn't welcome in our community.”
When things spiraled out of control, he backpedaled, tweeting, “Violence and destruction is not the answer[.]”
And don’t forget that the George Soros-funded slander shop, Media Matters for America, helped to lay the groundwork for the leftist violence surrounding Yiannopoulos in Berkeley and at other stops on his speaking tour. It has long urged colleges to prevent him from speaking, characterizing his mere words as harassment.
Berkeley, interestingly enough, was the home of something that called itself the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s.
But that was a long time ago.
Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.