This is just the latest instance of violent, masked invaders making it their business to shut down speech they don't agree with and break up peaceful assembly by any group of people they don't like. This time, they turned out for a canceled! No to Marxism rally, organized by a Trump supporting transgender woman who doesn't like the Marxist bent in Berkeley and wants the freedom to say so. People spread rumors that her rally was going to be White Supremacist and that notorious neo-Nazis were going to be speakers. She canceled the rally out of fear of violence but a small number of ralliers came anyway, outnumbered by counter-demonstrators. You know the rest: Antifa crashed the party and the police backed down.
But antifa protesters — armed with sticks and shields and clad in shin pads and gloves — largely routed the security checks and by 1:30 p.m. police reportedly left the security line at the Center Street and Milvaia Street entrance to the park. Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood told the AP the decision was strategic — a confrontation was sure to spark more violence between the protesters and police.
“No need for a confrontation over a grass patch,” Greenwood said.
Oh, the failure in such a statement. In the USA, we delegate the right to use force to our police. When they refuse that responsibility, people are left to their own defenses, and the guys with the best weapons and the most determination get to control the day.
Now the mayor of Berkeley is endorsing the violent heckler's veto.
After melees, Berkeley mayor asks Cal to cancel right-wing Free Speech Week
“I obviously believe in freedom of speech, but there is a line between freedom of speech and then posing a risk to public safety,” the mayor said. “That is where we have to really be very careful — that while protecting people’s free-speech rights, we are not putting our citizens in a potentially dangerous situation and costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing the windows of businesses.”
Frederick Douglass would be appalled. Here's what the great man wrote in 1860:
The world also knows that that meeting was invaded, insulted, captured by a mob of gentlemen, and thereafter broken up and dispersed by the order of the mayor, who refused to protect it, though called upon to do so…
These gentlemen brought their respect for the law with them and proclaimed it loudly while in the very act of breaking the law…
Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power…
Even here in Boston, and among the friends of freedom, we hear two voices: one denouncing the mob that broke up our meeting on Monday as a base and cowardly outrage; and another, deprecating and regretting the holding of such a meeting, by such men, at such a time. We are told that the meeting was ill-timed, and the parties to it unwise…
There can be no right of speech where any man, however lifted up, or however humble, however young, or however old, is overawed by force, and compelled to suppress his honest sentiments…
Equally clear is the right to hear. To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker. It is just as criminal to rob a man of his right to speak and hear as it would be to rob him of his money.
Even earlier, in 1838, Abraham Lincoln spoke forcefully against allowing a mob to break laws in order to have their way:
“By such examples, by instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the lawless in spirit are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint but dread of punishment, they thus become absolutely unrestrained. Having ever regarded government as their deadliest bane, they make a jubilee of the suspension of its operations, and pray for nothing so much as its total annihilation.
While, on the other hand, good men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country, seeing their property destroyed, their families insulted, and their lives endangered, their persons injured, and seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the better, become tired of and disgusted with a government that offers them no protection, and are not much averse to a change in which they imagine they have nothing to lose.
Thus, then, by the operation of this mobocratic spirit which all must admit is now abroad in the land, the strongest bulwark of any government, and particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed—I mean the attachment of the people.”
Now I suppose the progressives will respond, but, but, Nazis!