Image Credits: AP Photo

The University of California, Berkeley used to be known as a hub of free speech, but you’d never know it looking at their campus today. They’ve become infamous for disinviting or banning conservative speakers, including Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter, and Milo Yiannopoulos. The campus has been at the heart of several riots, yes riots, in 2017. Antifa feels emboldened as the country speaks out against white supremacy and its violence, but doesn’t realize that the violence they are committing must also be condemned. It looks like the riots are over for now, but here’s what you need to know about them.

There was a scheduled rally against Marxism set to take place on Berkeley’s campus on Sunday, but it was cancelled. That didn’t stop leftist Antifa protestors from showing up and causing trouble. For the record, the “No to Marxism” rally was specially cancelled because of fears of violence, which were clearly founded in reality. Thousands of leftists showed up, six people were injured, including a police officer, and thirteen people were arrested on charges ranging from vandalism to assault with a deadly weapon.

These protestors, who many on the left want you to believe are peaceful, were attacking people with malicious intent. This included hitting one man with a pole, tear-gassing him, and throwing debris at him.

Now, you might be wondering, why did Antifa show up in full force? Well, they thought it was a white supremacy gathering of course. The organizer of the “No to Marxism” rally that was cancelled was Amber Cummings, a transgendered Trump supporter who has vehemently denied these allegations saying, “White supremacy is not allowed at my rally. We do not want racist people there. We do not want hateful people there.” Despite her insistence, hateful people did show up. They did so wearing black masks and wielding baseball bats.

The school year is just beginning, but UC Berkeley’s president has declared that he will stand up for free speech this year, and commentators like Milo Yiannopoulos are planning to come back to campus to show that free speech is important and you know, a constitutional right in the United States. In response, the mayor of Berkeley, Jesse Arreguin, says that the college should cancel it’s free speech week, set for the end of September. Why? Because people might riot and make Berkeley look bad. Since Antifa might get violent, we should shut down free speech. That’s what this elected official is saying.

Many GOP politicians have spoken out loudly and condemned the violence at these rallies. They have even called for Antifa to be labeled as a hate group or a terrorist organization. Antifa’s tactics have gotten so out of hand that even people who might have been on their side before are forced to condemn them. Most prominently, former Speaker of the House and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has spoken out against them, saying:

“Our democracy has no room for inciting violence or endangering the public, no matter the ideology of those who commit such acts. The violent actions of people calling themselves Antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.”

I don’t say this often, but maybe we should all listen to Nancy Pelosi this time. Let Antifa know that their violence is not welcome. We will not let it shut down free speech on college campuses or anywhere in our great nation.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member