Lots of discussion among the Twitterati this morning about last night’s ruckus in Berserkely.
David Simon — yes, that David Simon* — is arguing that the violence apparently instigated by the usual gang of black-masked hellraisers to shut down a speech by the notorious and vainglorious fascist tool Milo Yiannopoulos plays right into the hands of Orange Julius Caesar, who would love nothing better than to show how tough he is by having one of his punks give the First Amendment a good wedgie.
Yiannopoulos spoke last week at the University of Colorado in Boulder and recently here in Duke City at the University of New Mexico. There were protests, but the speeches went off as scheduled. And that’s as it should be. Free speech isn’t just for people with whom we agree.
And consider this: I’ve joined a few protests, marches and rallies over the years, and speaking from my experience as a rabblerouser on the streets and in the public prints, there’s nothing the cops and press enjoy more than a good ol’ outside agitator, whether there actually is one or not. You don’t think they have all that hand-me-down military gear lying around for nothing, do you? Ever get a new bike and not want to ride it?
Now, you can make the argument that what we need here is a bold stand against the New World Ordure, and I’d say “Fuckin’ A.” But I think the boldest stand would be forging a huge mass movement that shows the extent of the opposition, not merely the energy of a small faction.
It’s tough to get Maw and Paw to join Buddy and Sis at the barricades if Paw might get thrown into the hoosegow and lose a few days’ work, Maw loses her whole damn’ job, and everybody loses a few teefers. And what about the businesses that were said to have been vandalized? I’m not familiar with Telegraph Avenue, Shattuck Avenue and Center Street, but if any small businesses took a beating, I say “Shame!” Likewise if a few organizable working folks find themselves short in the paycheck department because their employers have to close for repairs.
Herself and I joined an antiwar rally in Bibleburg during the administration of Bush the Lesser, and all was well until the Black Bandana Brigade decided it would be fun to make a shambles. Naturally, the cops are better at that sort of thing, and they set about proving it.
Hearts and minds, people; hearts and minds. Let’s try to win them instead of breaking them.
* Incidentally, if you’re not already following David Simon on Twitter, you should be.