Milo scares Robert Reich
It doesn't get more absurd than Robert Reich's claims that Milo Yiannopoulos and his bawdy band of right-wingers were behind the Berkeley riots. According to Cal's Professor Reich when he was interviewed by CNN's Don Lemon, he saw, with his own eyes, that the rioters were not Berkeley students.
Reich: I was there for part of last night and I know what I saw and those people were not Berkeley students. Those were outsiders, agitators[.] ... I've never seen them before[.] ... You know there's rumors that they actually were rightwingers; they were part of a kind of a group that were organized and ready to create the kind of tumult and danger you saw that forced the police to cancel the event. So ... Donald Trump, when he says Berkeley ... doesn't respect free speech rights, that's a ... complete distortion of the truth. I mean, Berkeley opened its biggest auditorium, uh, to this right-wing Breitbart news character – this hateful, odious person – but said free speech is the most important thing we [sic] stand for and [inaudible] these outsiders who caused the police to finally come in and have to cancel it.
Of the 38,204 students Google tells us were enrolled at Cal in 2016, Robert Reich is confident that none of them was rioting.
It's apparent to anyone on the right side of the political spectrum that the rioters were anyone but right-wingers. Conservatives are generally uncomfortable with street protests and rallies – it takes every fiber of our being to march, and when we do – as we did with the Tea Party movement – we don't dress in black, we don't wear black balaclavas to hide our faces, we do not arm ourselves with Molotov cocktails, and we never smash the storefronts of banks and small businesses. We do not comport ourselves like the left because of the respect we have for private property, free enterprise, and nonviolent protest, none of which was on display in Berkeley. It's just not in our DNA.
Reich might be correct in one respect, though. Some of the rioters were undoubtedly outside agitators. If you look at their dress, manner, and behavior, it mirrors exactly the same dress, manner, and behavior of those who attended the many Occupy Oakland riots, as you can see in this video. These are the same anarchists who first appeared at Seattle's WTO riots and most recently joined forces with the BLM protests.
While these fomenters of hatred and bedlam are ubiquitous at violent protests from WTO to OWS to BLM to whatever today's riots stand for, they do not account for the thousands wreaking havoc in Berkeley. But they do work in tandem with student and local community groups, as well as unions, to organize, fund, and man these riots. While the anarchists set the tone and rile them up, the majority of participants in the riots are locals from the broader Berkeley-Oakland-San Francisco community and, yes, Cal students.
Reich is clearly weaving a tale about evil white supremacists who were generously given a forum at Berkeley to air their venal views because Berkeley is the sacred birthplace of the Free Speech Movement. As he imagines it, the outspoken and outrageous Milo – who has successfully been doing these events for the last 12 months at universities throughout the land – rashly decided to take a page from the left-wing playbook and rent a few hundred thugs to riot and close down the last speech on his tour at the one place it would have had special meaning. He decided to self-sabotage the event to bring attention to himself and frame the university for squelching the free speech rights of conservatives.Find me thousands of young, angry, black-clad violent conservatives in the Bay Area, and I'll eat my pussy hat from the Women's March we also orchestrated.