An army of anarchists in black clothing and masks routed a small group of right-wing demonstrators who had gathered in a Berkeley park Sunday, in protest of the city’s progressive politics, and drove them out with violence. A contingent of police officers 400 strong was overwhelmed. The masked counterprotesters, who are coming to be known as the “Antifa“, for antifascist, outnumbered in massive proportion the people who had come for the rally. They were chanting, “No Trump. No wall. No USA, at all”.
The Trump supporters wore red clothing, so the clashing groups could be clearly identified as distinct in the melee, due to the difference in fashion. Their conduct, however, was pretty well identical.
Thousands of other, nonviolent protesters were at the scene as well, doing what they could to make their voices heard the right way. Most who came to oppose the right-wing rally had no connection to the anarchist mob. They were there to protest Donald Trump and the intolerant indecency he has permeated our nation with- not to make it worse. “We’re just puzzled as to why people consider violence a valid tactic,” said Kristin Leimkuhler, 60, of Berkeley, who left the protests when they turned into a melee.
Jay Pino, 23, said he came to Berkeley from New Mexico to protest the right-wing rally, but peacefully.
“I’m here to try to keep the peace”, he said. “No matter how bad the other side is, we have to pray for them as well.”
The difference between the groups is a matter of motivation. Nazis choose the people they hate based on religion and ethnicity, which are accidents of birth. Antifa directs its violence against people with acquired views or traits, such as the Nazis, and the wealthy, or people in authority. The Nazis want to uphold an outmoded and disgusting status quo, while the anarchists want to realign society to fit their own agenda. Ultimately, however, both are fascists, because they want others to bend to their will due to fear of physical harm. Whosoever seeks to compel his fellows by violence, is a Nazi. At the end of the day, all that Trump supporters and Antifa have going on, is a pissing contest between monsters.
It’s also true that we have no idea who these people in the black masks are, they who descend like wolves upon their fellow man. We don’t know who is paying them, and we don’t know what their true motivations are. We have no way at all of knowing they’re not all the same pack of lunatics, manufacturing events to use as a cause of war. That trick was used by the actual Nazis to start World War Two, when the German radio station in Gleiwitz was “conquered” by Nazis masquerading as Poles, who even went so far as to leave a few dead bodies behind. The incident was used by Hitler as an excuse to send his troops across the border.
This same sort of extreme conduct in Berkeley has been seen before, many times. In 1969, the People’s Park riots led to Ronald Reagan sending actual tanks up Telegraph Avenue with the National Guard to restore order. That incident empowered Reagan tremendously in the eyes of the middle class, who were mostly horrified at the way they saw people behaving, whatever the cause. We seem to be headed back that way.
We know that the far right has often manipulated the national dialectic by investing in, stirring up, and inciting the far left.
Who could forget all that happened during the 2011 Occupy Wall St. movement? Nothing like a bank lobby filled with homeless people, refusing to leave and literally defecating on police cars, to make the general public miss the nightstick- which, along with all kinds of other military gear, was just reauthorized for use by domestic police. The Occupiers should have carried a banner, emblazoned with the slogan, “Make Police Brutality Great Again“. All they accomplished, was making Democrats and the liberal causes we stand for look terrible. Get off our side, if you can’t at least use a toilet.
We know also that extreme elements of the left are every bit as linked in with Russia as Donald Trump and his guys. Green Party leader Jill Stein was present at that famous meeting with Putin and Paul Manafort in Russia last year. Stein is being investigated by the Mueller probe as well.
It’s natural to ask the question- To whose benefit? Who benefits, from taking groups of decent and determined Americans, and transforming them into groups of raving radicals, ripping apart the very fabric of our country? Who has a direct and comprehensible reason, to want to disrupt the American people’s ability to live in harmony with one another? Who would gain the most, if we decide we really want another Civil War? The most direct answer, of course, is Vladimir Putin. That alone is reason enough to start calming down.
This kind of inflammatory violence has been the hallmark of the nation under Trump. Since he took office, we have seen radicals on both ends of the spectrum go absolutely bonkers, time and time again. This has got to stop. The time has come to make a general call for peace. No matter how outraged we may be by the awful events of this last year, to roll around in the muck of street brawls and disorder is not what Democrats do. We will beat Trump back the right way. The pandemonium we saw in Berkeley on Saturday is not something we want our names on. At Charlottesville, Heather Heyer died, to give us the moral high ground. Let’s not throw that away.