The University of California – Berkeley newspaper The Daily Californian published a series of columns Tuesday that praised the riot that shut down Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos’s speech last week.
Headlined as “Violence as Self-Defense,” the series was intended to give a voice to those who thought the multiple assaults and serious property damage committed in the name of cancelling Milo were 100 percent right.
The first op-ed, written by UC Berkekely alumna Nisa Dang, lectured critics of the riots to “check their privilege.” Dang claimed that Yiannopoulos’s views amount to “violence,” and that in turn legitimized violence against them.
Criticisms of the riots are not just wrong, in her opinion, but also constitute “violent acts” against minority students.
“To people with platforms who decide when a protest should and should not be violent: You speak from a place of immense privilege. As I recently wrote in a tirade against this brand of idiocy, asking people to maintain peaceful dialogue with those who legitimately do not think their lives matter is a violent act,” the irate alumna wrote.
She blamed the police presence for somehow influencing the demonstrators to grow more violent and dismissed those who were assaulted by the rioters as “white nationalists [who] got their asses beat.”
She also implied in her piece that Milo and his supporters should be killed.
“Here’s a big fuck you from the descendants of people who survived genocides by killing Nazis and people just like them,” Dang said in reference to Yiannopoulos.
The next column, written by an illegal immigrant student named Juan Prieto, argued that the riots actually ensured the safety of students. Prieto claims that Yiannopoulos having a chance to speak would make all illegal alien students subject to violence.
“My campus did nothing to stand between my undocumented community and the hateful hands of radicalized white men — the AntiFas [anti-fascists] did,” he wrote. “A peaceful protest was not going to cancel that event… Only the destruction of glass and shooting of fireworks did that. The so-called ‘violence’ against private property that the media seems so concerned with stopped white supremacy from organizing itself against my community.”
He then castigated any condemnation of the riots as “passive acceptance to hate speech.”
In the following article, former student columnist Neil Lawrence identifies himself as one of the “black bloc” rioters and pushed back against the idea that his fellow demonstrators were outside agitators.
“We were not, as the news, the chancellor and concerned progressives have alleged, ‘unaffiliated white anarchists.’ Behind those bandanas and black T-shirts were the faces of your fellow UC Berkeley and Berkeley City College students, of women, of people of color, of queer and trans people. The bloc was made up of people with the most to fight for and the most to lose,” Lawrence wrote.
He argued that what the rioters did was “self-defense” against the violence of Milo’s words.
The next columnist, Desmond Meagley, also supported the use of violence to challenge the alleged violence of Yiannopoulos’s views and claimed there were many students among the black bloc rioters.
“I put my safety and my freedom on the line because letting Yiannopoulos speak was more terrifying to me than potential injury or arrest,” Meagley states. While defending the violence, he also curiously claims that the rioters did not start the fires on campus.
But he did declare that criticizing the “protests” was the same as “condoning hate speech.”
The final op-ed in the series, written by Berkeley student Josh Hardman, took the most moderate stance of the bunch as it didn’t fully endorse last week’s violence. However, Hardman argued that Yiannopoulos’s “hate speech” should not be covered by freedom of speech and he was pleased he was not allowed to speak.
“I urge you to consider whether damaging the windows of places like banks and the Amazon student store constitutes “violence” — and, if so, what weight this ‘violence’ carries in the context of the symbolic, structural and actual violence that is proposed, condoned and actioned by the likes of Milo Yiannopoulos and his supporters,” the student concludes his op-ed.
On the day before Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak, The Daily Californian had urged all of their fellow students to protest his talk in an editorial.
While rioters were able to prevent Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus, at the same time the Breitbart writer’s book shot back up to number 1 on Amazon and gained increased national exposure due to the violence.