Rose Aguilar, the KALW radio show host, had the point right: On Facebook, she noted that “the white supremacists were tear gassed in Berkeley, and that’s going to be the news headline” — not the fact that 5,000 people peacefully marched against fascism and hate.
For the second day in a row, the Bay Area demonstrated that the hate-monger message wasn’t welcome. The outpouring of people power was impressive.
Of course, the the surprise of nobody who has been to East Bay demonstrations in the past five years, a few people jumped the fence around the park in Berkeley and went in to confront the far-right; the black bloc is going to do that sort of thing. There was some violence (but not as bad as we’ve seen in the past, thanks to Berkeley enforcing rules against guns, sticks, and knives).
The news stations tonight all led with “violence in the streets of Berkeley,” because that’s what TV stations do. Most of the actual protesters were peaceful, but that’s not what makes headlines.
I am not condoning violence against the alt-right (although they are espousing a violent ideology). But it was entirely predictable.
That’s why it’s such a bad idea — and an open provocation — for these folks to come to Berkeley itching for a fight.
All I can say to Joey Gibson and his gang is: What did you expect? You come into a town that is known for tolerance and progressive values with a message of intolerance and you try to start a fight — and you’re likely to get one.
Don’t go whining to the press about how the left won’t let you speak; you got plenty of press this weekend. The right-wingers weren’t there to exercise free speech; they were there to antagonize the rest of us, to try to create a violent scene so they can then blame the left.
The best way for them to avoid violence was not to show up in the first place.
Get a clue — your hate isn’t welcome here. Don’t come back. We’ll all be better off.