Thursday, April 27, 2017

Antifa backs down! No violence at pro free speech event in Berkeley.

Free speech supporters rally in Berkeley. NBC/AP.

A free speech demonstration held at UC Berkeley after conservative pundit Ann Coulter backed out remained peaceful. NBC News. Hundreds of pro free speech activists arrived despite the fact that Ann Coulter. Local officials had said that they could not guarantee Coulter's safety and she backed out. Despite that, supporters and other conservative figures showed up to UC Berkeley and spoke for free speech and a few counter protesters showed up as well. Two people were arrested, one for carrying a knife and another for wearing a mask in public. No violence erupted and the relations between the different factions was boisterous but peaceful. 

My Comment:
This was a huge victory for free speech and a huge blow to antifa and other progressive malcontents. Despite the fact that Ann Coulter backed down, others, like Lauren Southern and Gavin McInnes, showed up. Dozens of pro-speech and pro-Trump supporters showed up as well, all willing to fight to protect the right of free speech. I'm not going to say much about Coulter other than the fact that she definitely should have showed up. Not only did nothing bad happen to the people that showed up, the cancellation is the only victory the opponents of free speech managed today. 

Previous conservatives events at UC Berkeley have ended with violence and injury. During Milo Yiannopoulos' aborted speech there was a lot of violence and police generally stood down. In several events after that speech, the same pattern emerged. Antifa protesters attacked people and Trump supporters started to fight back. Many people were hurt and a lot of property damage was done as well. 

So what was different this time? Well for one, the police actually did their jobs. In the past, Berkeley police stood down and allowed the riots to happen. They were ordered to do so, so I can't blame them too much. This time the police had a massive presence and weren't tolerating any violence whatsoever. I have said in the past that a strong police presence can prevent a demonstration from turning into a riot.

Critically, police actually enforced a ban on demonstrating with a mask on. In the past antifa have taken advantages of masks in order to assault people without the risk of being identified. Wearing masks allowed bad actors to hurt people without fear of legal repercussions. Enforcing a ban on masks meant that antifa couldn't hide behind them anymore. More than anything else, enforcing a ban on masks makes antifa activities impossible and is a huge lesson on what should be done to fight them. 

Another factor was that the Trump supporters showed up in force with armor. Many of the supporters had helmets, shields and other forms of protection that would help protect them from the sticks and fists of antifa. Antifa could have done the same thing but they didn't show because they knew that they didn't have any easy targets. I have always said that making yourself a hard target will protect you from attacks by thugs. It doesn't matter if those thugs are common street criminals or terrorist scum like antifa. 

I also think that antifa understood that they had gotten their asses kicked the last time around. And I am not just talking about physically, though that certainly happened as well. Antifa seemed to underestimate how robust and persistent the Trump affiliated internet can be. People on 4chan's /pol/ board were conducting a frame by frame analysis to identify and expose antifa attackers. Some were identified and harassed. Everyone knew who they were and what they had done.

Though I am not a supporter of doxing people, I do have to admit that doing so really hurt antifa. They have always depended on anonymity to get away with their attacks but that was no longer an option. I think antifa understands now that even if they try to be anonymous, it won't work as long as 4chan exists...  

Antifa and other violent protesters has proven to be a huge liability for the left. There has been a large amount of grass roots opposition to these violent riots. I think it is a major reason why Donald Trump won the presidency. I know that for me personally it was leftist violence against Donald Trump and his supporters that made me a Trump supporter. The attacks after the election have only strengthened Trump's support and increased opposition to the left. It has also greatly damaged leftist protest in general. Now any protest in opposition of the right will be tarred by the worst actions by those on the left. 

Will the violence continue? I am not sure. This was a huge defeat for antifa and a major rejection by the establishment of their tactics. After all, the Berkeley police were instructed to actually stop them, which was the opposite of what had been happening. Berkeley officials finally figured out that it wasn't worth the bad press and damage to property that these riots cause. Without support from the establishment, antifa will have a much more difficult time.

On the other hand, antifa isn't just going to go away because they got a bloody nose and publicly shamed. Antifa is an international organization and they have a lot more power in Europe than they have ever had here in the United States. They will still exist, but if they aren't able to attack people in Berkeley California, the most liberal place in America, they have had their power base broken and destroyed... 

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