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A statement from the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies (crws.berkeley.edu)

Lawrence Rosenthal, executive director, Center for Right-Wing Studies | April 27, 2017

A statement by CRWS Chair Lawrence Rosenthal on 4/27 events at Berkeley

The situation at the University of California does not conform to the claims of suppression of free speech that conservative politicians and commentators have been trying to tie it to.

Neither student groups nor the university administration are responsible for the threats of violence that surround Ann Coulter’s proposed appearance on this campus.

The threats of violence come from off-campus radical political groups. In particular, a formation known as the Black Bloc wants to use this occasion to foment confrontation, including violent confrontation, with conservative and far-right groups connected to the alt-right.

These are the same groups that have for decades tried to turn peaceful progressive demonstrations into violent confrontations with police.

The university has two responsibilities at play.

One is to unequivocally support free speech — to have all views, including Ann Coulter’s or Milos Yianolpolous’s, aired on campus.  This is a fundamental value of the university and its community.

The second responsibility is security. At times such as this, when the likelihood of violence by off-campus actors is so great, the university administration may have to make the unfortunate choice of choosing security — avoiding the potential horror of serious injury or worse — over free speech.

There is a deeper story here which should not be overlooked.

On April 15 the alt-right staged a march in the city of Berkeley with the clear intent of provoking street fighting with the Black Bloc.

After the melee the alt-right movement’s founder, Richard Spencer, exalted in the violence. Finally, in his view, politics in the USA had come to resemble the situation of pre-Nazi Germany, where communists and Nazis squared off against one another in the streets.

Spencer argues that the fragmentation in American politics is moving toward a polarization where people will be forced to choose one or another armed side.

Fascist and Nazi movements combined an electoral party with a private militia — like the Brownshirts in Germany who were a component of the Nazi party, or the Blackshirts in Italy who were a  component of the Fascist party.

This situation has not developed in the USA, even in this period of extreme political confrontation. But It is Richard Spencer’s goal.

The deepest significance of the ongoing “Battles of Berkeley” is the attempt by the alt-right to move the country toward fascist-anti-fascist violence.

Conservative politicians and commentators wishing to use the Berkeley situation as a cudgel in the name of free speech run the risk of enabling the dark goals of the alt-right.

Comments to “A statement from the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies (crws.berkeley.edu)

  1. Universities used to protect freedom of speech but no longer at Cal. It is sad to watch its reputation soiled by fastidious professors and administrators. What good is free speech on campus if you cannot use it? Silence and submission are the new values.

  2. There are two overwhelming root problems that prevent these Us/Them conflicts from being resolved, and they must be solved first:

    1. We must produce opportunities that will produce an acceptable quality of life for the working class.

    2. We must prevent global warming from destroying an acceptable quality of life for the human race.

    How do we fix these problems?

    • Robert Reich is the best American professor at exposing this culture of hate, greed, mendacity and immorality that is destroying the human race using their indentured politicians in Washington DC today.

      Freedom of Speech must not be violated, but the GOP health care bill passed yesterday is the worst case scenario that has turned the house of representatives, along with the presidency, into the House of Death to millions of innocent children, women and men in the next decade alone.

      I hope that all UC professors and scholars shall join with Professor Reich to dedicate themselves to saving the human race before inequalities, violence and global warming destroy our ability to do so.

    • Sadly, it appears that Berkeley Blog is in extremis, very few academics post since Trump took office and many replies are not posted for days.

      It seems that Robert Reich’s blog has replaced the Berkeley Blog, which is an excellent alternative since he is the best University Champion for Equality, Democracy and the Human Race:
      http://robertreich.org/

      Hopefully many more professors and scholars throughout the world will unite with him so we can adapt in time:
      https://alumni.berkeley.edu/california-magazine/september-october-2006-global-warning/can-we-adapt-time

  3. The only Fascism I is see if from the left – we should rename Cal Berkley – “The Berkley Bubble”.

    Cary Michael Cox

  4. Work with the city to protect the rights of students at your university to express their views with out fear from within or without, physical or otherwise. You have the power to do this. Why are you making excuses insyead of fighting for you students rights against those who want to take it away? Why was Coulter not rescheduled… you intentions were made clear when she was canceled instead of postponed. You can still make it right, why not get a new “safe” date established???

  5. Berkeley is a fake. They claim free speech. They have always bloated free speech. Actually, they are the FIRST in the nation to promote and declare free speech among the universities in the United States of America. But are they? What a joke! Berkley only claims to be free speech if THEY, meaning the Berkeley liberals agree with or have similar views with the person or persons who are going to speak at THEIR campus. If you are not a liberal or a democrat or if you don’t agree with THEIR way of thinking then they protest, light things on fire, break windows, destroy personal property, etc. Berkeley, please explain how you are different? Berkeley, please explain how you promote free speech and freedom? Berkeley, please explain how you are any different than the southern states who fly the confederate flag, who you are so adamantly opposed to? You are a fake. Convince me why and how I am wrong?

  6. Why don’t you as a school have a balance of conservitive professors, along with liberal professors. That might just cut down the roots at your school instead of breeding thugs like you have now. Your college is a joke at this time. I would never send my kid to your school, not till the school changes it’s policies.

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