Call in the National Guard on Berkeley protests
Crisis, coercion and coups in the fog of war
You might say that the coastal liberal elite that I am, I was completely unaware that alt-right hate-monger Milo Yiannopoulos was invited to speak at Berkeley by the Republican club at a security cost to the of about $6000. The foreseeable riot that shut down the event likely cost the city a good deal more and aerial footage of a burning spotlight unit mainstreamed Milo and furthered Steve Bannon’s permanent crisis tactics.
I missed the televised burning at Berkeley to eat a slice if pizza, arriving in time for the Resistance Dance Party. A friend described it as a queer, POC & immigrant dance party to detract from Milo’s hate speech and that’s how I learned about the protest. We brought glow sticks because this is the Bay Area.
But TV viewers have a short memory but a big impression for how or why riots happen. The 60s and 70s saw a lot of riots. 2016 has seen the most of this decade, but Twitter and our social isolation has a way of distorting such events. #MiloAtCal seems like the sort of staged event that’s meant to move more Americans closer to the alt-right. It was mildly destructive by riot standards that students had organized an event to clean up. Such alt-image-crafting was previously used to harass #BlackLivesMatter while condoning police brutality that disinformation of this sort is quite effective with middle America. Except today, dancing trans students, immigrants and queers are the thugs. Really? No amount of property damage is worth sacrificing human rights at the hands of hate speech.
List of incidents of civil unrest in the United States - Wikipedia
This article is about incidents of civil unrest, rioting, violent labor disputes, or minor insurrections or revolts in…
It should be expected that at a time when the Presidency is suspending people’s rights, that windows would get broken and fascist faces smashed but Americans seem easily provoked by shattered glass more than bodies. I suspect this is largely the optics of crises today but moreso, how tactical we’ve become in spreading memes and imagery. Recall that during G20 protests in Canada, police abandoned cruisers amid crowds leaving them to burn and be broadcasted.
Ronald Reagan launched political career using the Berkeley campus as a political target
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Similarly, there’s nothing like the image of an antifascist backlit by a burning tire fire, to set imaginations wild enough that conservatives would like to have the National Guard called in. Much as Reagan’s 1966 heated entry into politics in the same way at the same place. Bannon’s strategy is more calculated than deploying the National Guard over the city and state for his authoritarian debut. He’s barely settled into the National Security Council. This seemed more about people assembling on either side, the conscientious resistors and discontented alt-righters.
“Bannon probably would love an excuse to declare martial law in cities and send in the National Guard. The more traditional Republican faction of the administration probably doesn’t want to go that far, because they aren’t going to be wholly spared the effects of the disruption. But when Bannon says he looks up to Lenin as a model, I do believe him.”—David Auerbach
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But in the same way that Reagan ironically used the violent squashing of a student protest to secure him elections, Milo Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon’s cynical theater are again mobilizing support for their base. If it seems theatrical or cyclical that the University of California, Berkeley, home of Free Speech Movement would one day attract a demagogue of hate speech under the very same premise and be forcefully resisted, it is because it is.
This is the sort of practiced war games that make it plausible to suspend constitutional rights in response. Aerial footage of a fire causes more psychological damage than any real property destruction. As a reminder, this follows the murder of 6 Muslim Canadians killed by an alt-right terrorist at a mosque. Which is real carnage? America would barely know the difference given how far the alt-right fakes initial reporting.
The first terror attack of the Trump era was against Canadian Muslims
Psychometrics and the mainstreaming of Christofascism
Disorienting as this political landscape sounds, the degree to which people can resist fascism while maneuvering Bannon’s war games, all amidst a breakdown of societal norms and tossing around of executive power seems like much of what these four years will be about. I imagine we’re going to need a diversity of resistance tactics but for today, Berkeley brought Milo the needed mainstream attention he’s needed since being silenced on Twitter and the approval of his bully President.