Berkeley now grumbling about the hard left leading demonstrations
Monday night was the third night in a row that about 500 demonstrators disrupted freeways and local traffic as they marched several miles around Berkeley. They are beginning to wear out their welcome, even in the famously leftist and demonstration-friendly city of Berkeley and in the entire Bay Area.
Television news helicopters started hovering overhead about 7 PM, when the demonstrators started marching toward Interstate 80, one of the busiest freeways in the country, and the Bay Area’s principal link to the east. They managed to shut down that vital artery and, for good measure, blocked passenger trains on the Capital Corridor commuter route that parallels I-80. Imagine that! Passenger trains are regarded as semi-holy, purportedly saving Mother Gaia, and yet the protesters blocked them.
Local TV news reported on a woman who was stuck in traffic as she went into labor on her way to the hospital. She was eventually extricated as an ambulance was allowed to pass. But obviously, she and her baby were imperiled, while others in cars were simply robbed of a few hours of their lives spent stuck in unnecessary traffic disruption.
Unlike Sunday night, there were few instances of store windows being smashed, with the demonstrators instead focusing on disrupting the lives of people just trying to get somewhere. By actually marching down the freeway toward the Bay Bridge, they managed to stall traffic on that span for over an hour, trapping motorists.
The hard left that is sparking the violence was in evidence, as seen in this picture taken by Emilie Raguso and published in local news site Berkeleyside:
The "Revcom" visible in the professionally printed sign visible here is the Revolutionary Communist Party, which has been active elsewhere in demonstrations, beginning with Ferguson reactions. Lee Cary wrote about their role on December 1 in American Thinker (more Revcom photos here):
Scan the signage in the photos taken at Ferguson street protests across the nation and note that a handful of groups’ names reoccur. Among them are REVCOM.US (Revolutionary Community Party USA , A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition (founded by the pro-Leninist Becker brothers and aligned with the Party for Socialism and Liberation), Peoples Power Assemblies, Socialist Worker.org, and the International Action Center (founded by Jimmy Carter’s former Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, in 1992). There are more.
Standing behind the signs are well-funded 501(c)(3) groups that receive millions of dollars every year through donations and foundation grants, and then allocate monies to promote social change.
It’s a one-two-three punch involving community organizers, supported by moneyed enablers, who marshal protesters to the street carrying signs with organizational ties most know nothing about.
All of it is well-organized, well-executed, and well-funded by intelligent, well-rehearsed, highly-motivated, ideologically-driven zealots for fundamental transformation in America, and, for some, the world.
Following the violence and looting Sunday night, the leftists who run the municipal government of Berkeley, and who have a financial stake in the construction boom that has added much money to city coffers, started to express frustration with the hard left that has taken the initiative. Berkeleyside quoted some:
Mayor Tom Bates said Monday that he and other Berkeley City Council members had been disturbed by the aggressive tone of the demonstrations Saturday night, when Berkeley police shot rubber bullets, other projectiles, and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators who refused to leave Telegraph Avenue. (snip)
“I believe Berkeley citizens share in the nationwide concern over the events in Ferguson and New York City and recognize the need to address problems in police-community relations,” said Bates. “I fully support the right of citizens to peacefully protest and exercise their First Amendment rights, but the violence we’ve seen the past two nights in Berkeley is unacceptable”.
“While the overwhelming majority of the demonstrators were non-violent, we have had numerous reports of masked demonstrators as the main perpetrators of the damage and destruction. We don’t know who they are, but they are not welcome in Berkeley.
In the comments section of Berkelyside, a local news site, hundreds of people have expressed dismay over the violent fringe.
To be sure, this being Berkeley, the police use of tear gas and rubber bullets has come under criticism. Mayor Bates:
“We have also received accusations of police use of unnecessary force. Berkeley has one of the best police departments in the nation with an exemplary record of conduct. It’s possible that one or more officers may have exceeded what was required under the circumstances and could face discipline, but that determination requires an impartial review that we have not had an opportunity to complete yet.”
A major storm system is headed toward California, with high winds and heavy rain predicted for Thursday, possibly beginning Wednesday night. That should cool the ardor of some of the demonstrators. And offer relief to ordinary people whose lives are being disrupted. The drought of both water and civility may be relieved.