A Week Later: Here’s the Story Regarding All The Events That Occurred in Berkeley

Berkeley, CA (PT) – The events that took place in The San Francisco Bay Area over the weekend of August 26–27, 2017 moreover conflated the 2 sided coin of politics, yet they were also eventless in the grand scheme. This report breaks down exactly what happened – from the days before the events – to the only event that actually took place, Berkeley. Including breaking down the rhetoric that followed the week after the events.   

Rather than merely highlight the events that have already been covered, the aim here is to give you a first hand telling of what occurred…  before, during, and after the events. The overview; The events scheduled by the Alt-Right were cancelled only hours before they were set to happen. However, some individuals from the Alt-Right showed up to the sites of the cancelled rallies with the counter-protest completely intact. They came out in minuscule teams to provoke the left that had assembled in droves against them.

The Facebook post from Patriot Prayer:

The Week Before

One week before the scheduled events, the internet started getting flooded with individuals taken aback by the two Alt-Right rallies. In the wake of the shocking story from Charlottesville, the media was all over these new events, many days before they actually took place. Many feared the worst…The violence in Charlottesville might actually take place in two California cities renowned for liberalism.

To give context, here’s a 20 minute video of the events that unfolded in Charlottesville, for those that don’t need to know, you can skip past this, but I highly recommend watching accounts from those that are actually on site at events such as these.  

Tensions in the Bay Area were high, to say the least. And the media was doing nothing but fuel the fire that could have turned into an inferno. The Bay area NBC news affiliate headlined it like this; Berkeley Braces for Upcoming ‘Alt-Right’ Rallies. The article highlights violence that has taken place before, and mentions some big names from the Alt-Right. It basically sets the tone for any opposition to not only organize, but prepare for the rallies that were set to take place. It’s almost as if NBC wanted violence to erupt? SF Weekly reported Berkeley’s Mayor Jesse Arreguin urging Berkeley residents to avoid the protests scheduled for Sunday, August 27. But it also published a complete list of the rallies and counter-protests scheduled. Again, the media was basically setting the tone for the weekend.  

Thus, after a week of anticipation, the two Alt-Right rallies that were scheduled looked as though they were going to be called off. Patriot Prayer’s own Joey Gibson went on the record calling off the Patriot Prayer event scheduled to promote free speech for the Alt-Right on Sat. Aug. 26th in Chrissy Park, San Francisco. Likewise, only hours before the Berkeley event was supposed to begin. The “Say No To Marxism in America“ rally scheduled for Berkeley was also called off. What wasn’t called off? The numerous group actions of counter-protest including; Black Lives Matter, Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA), Freedom Socialist Party, Brown Berets, Anarchists, Anti-Fascists, and many more that could be mentioned. As we watched in Berkeley, the Alt-Right had no intention of calling off their events due to safety or not being permitted. They arrived in Berkeley by a small amount I’d estimate at probably 20+-. And it’s not hard to understand what occurred.

The Events

The San Francisco event Sat. Aug. 26th. housed mostly a handful of left counter-protesters. The original scene that Patriot Prayer had chosen became the site of ideological fractioning. Days before, presumably after Patriot Prayer witnessed the number set to come out against them, they switched venues to Alamo Square Park, before calling off the event altogether, and then just basically showing up in Berkeley the next day. Alamo Square park was cordoned off by the city and law enforcement. Public Transportation was not to deliver people there, and the police made sure nobody got into that park. Down the street, at the San Francisco Civic Center, an annual LGBT event was taking place. It seemed the police had there hands full with that event. It almost looked as though it was planned to occupy the SFPD, in order to outright end the cancelled Alt-Right event blocks away. I couldn’t corroborate that story, but it seems logical that a city known for tolerance would force the police to choose between covering a gay dance party, or a violent protest? It seems that they won, that is if my theory holds true.

One of the many people at the San Francisco LGBT dance party sporting some sort of counter hate dress, or poster.

This brings us to a day later in Berkeley. Let us not distinguish the two differently from each other: the same groups, the same ideologies, the same principles applied to both days. One was simply 12 times more eventful than the other. Most the time this is due to the populace of the crowd. Having a crowd come together of the magnitude at Berkeley (estimated 2,000) to argue politics, is a surefire way to have arguments, and even fistfights between individuals. There were many Blac Bloc protesters… For those that are confused by this, Blac Bloc is a protest tactic used by many groups, for many different purposes. A person clad in all black, with the legendary bandana mask. Yeah, these are the people coming out against the shit they just witnessed in the news a week before in Charlottesville.

Generally, the morning was uneventful. There were, again, two different rallies going on — The cancelled Alt-Right event that was scheduled for MLK Civic Center, Berkeley, and just up the street, at University of California Berkeley, another event that in the early morning held about 500 people. They were all out in the open to speak out against hate, and fascism. By about noon, there were many people showing up in downtown Berkeley. Streets were blocked off around MLK park by police, and inside the park there were barricades set up to essentially pull off what city leaders wanted — barricade off any two-sided clashes in the park between the Alt-Right and counter-protesters. Of course, that is not at all what happened.

Many Trump supporters were heckled, and yes, many of them were falsely accused of being fascist. The argument of whether or not to support Trump is an easy one. The man promises everything, and delivers almost nothing. Anyone who still supports him at this time probably lost me a long time ago, but let us keep going. These were the bulk of the encounters up until about  One PM. All of a sudden a rash of Blac Bloc protesters flooded the park, who only moments later, were greeted by Mr. Patriot Prayer himself, Joey Gibson, along with three or four other people at his side. They put themselves right in the middle of the Blac Bloc protesters. I want to emphasize here, that moments before this all happened, police suited up in riot gear, and were escorting people from the park.

You saw what happened in the encounter with Joey Gibson and the few others above: Joey hid behind the police. After showing up to  a canceled event at which he well knew he would be largely outnumbered, he tried to promote peace while simultaneously provoking conflict. That is when brawls broke out. That is when violence occurred and that was the moment the police started using their own violence to curb things. About a dozen people were arrested.  A few for minor crimes.

After the 30 minutes of brief brawls in the street, the event largely became a rally to indicate that people with love, outnumber people with hate. The coalition of different groups then marched up MLK towards another destination altogether. And that pretty much concluded the day of protest on Sunday August 26th, 2017. Unless, that is, you watch the media.

Photo by James Job

The Week After

The news in the week following the events laid out above posture a completely different story than this one. I’m sure you’ve seen headlines like: Violence by far-left protesters in Berkeley sparks alarm, or, just Sunday Sept. 3rd from the same news outlet: After Bay Area violence, California debates classifying ‘antifa’ as a street gang?

The principles and vitriol outlined in the latter headline are outright disgusting; further, the state is a fascist regime, rather than a scrupulous, and moral overseer.

Talk to any person that even leans right, and they’ll contend that Anti Fascism is Fascism, backing their claim with the first amendment to the constitution — freedom of speech. This claim is ultimately squashed by the title of the event that these people created and showed up to talk about — “Resist Marxism in America” This event, right in the title, is opposition to Freedom of Speech. If fascist idiots are allowed to speak freely within the confines of the Constitution, so too should Marxists. The opposition parodied off this thinking well with a sign that read “Say yes to Marxism.”

If you are advocating free speech, you need to do so for all voices. Not just the ones you agree with.  

The left seems to contend that this whole uprising between themselves and the right exemplifies the need for more laws and regulations against the people. This takes the power from the hands of the people, and places it square on law enforcement. Many should be upset with this. This issue is not going to be legislated away.

Walking Away From This

As highlighted above. These recent incidents in Charlottesville, Boston, Berkeley, and the immediate past are nothing new. There has been discord in this country since its birth, and the events that took place in Berkeley were overall peaceful, with a few situations that have been largely blown out of proportion by both sides.

It’s time to sit back do some deep self-reflection. Ask yourself some important questions. I’ll start you off with one. You can answer in the comments. If you walked into your front yard to see a street fight between two groups, one holding Swastikas, and KKK flags, and the other holding the Antifascist flag, which side would you fight with?

Give some serious thought to that question. And share this so others know the truth of the matter.  

Photo by James Job
No caption necessary.

This Article was prepared by James Job for The Pontiac Tribune.

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