Shame on The Daily Californian for its article ”UCPD asks public for help with investigation for Yiannopoulos demonstration.” The Daily Cal posted pictures of people police want to “investigate” and stated that people should come forward and identify them and send police their own pictures of “recognizable persons committing criminal acts on University property.” The fact that a student newspaper is, by uncritically amplifying and spreading a police bulletin, encouraging students to turn others into the police is disgusting, and it runs counter to the interests of the people and what is right. This needs to be criticized and repudiated.
UC Berkeley students were right to shut down Milo Yiannopoulos — now apparently disowned by the “alt right.” His campus speaking tour was a vile package: the normalizing of white supremacy, xenophobia and misogyny, the drumbeat of a culture corresponding to the ugly America that Donald Trump wants to build and rule.
Has the Daily Cal, which once fought against police repression and became independent in order to fight control by the university, now become a helpful tool of police repression and surveillance? Do the editors of this newspaper think it is the role of a student newspaper to aid the police in targeting activists? Should student journalists bow down to the Trump regime by ferreting out “bad hombres” and posting law enforcement pictures of people’s faces, inviting students to identify them and turn them in?
As journalists and major media are being attacked as the “enemy of the American people” for being critical of the repression and fascism of this regime, what will be their answer? Will outlets become police blotters and stenographers for law enforcement and the government by parroting their words, promoting their deeds and lulling the populace into complicity? Well, that did happen in Nazi Germany. And U.S. news agencies such as the Associated Press cooperated with Hitler’s regime quite extensively and signed on the “Schriftleitergesetz,” or Editors Law, promising not to publish anything that might “weaken the strength of the Reich.”
While functioning as the UCPD’s crime blotter in pursuing activists might seem to be a small matter, this too is part of normalizing a police state. In a time when the Trump administration is shredding civil rights, gearing up the machinery to round up immigrants and cracking down on dissent and when the executive is attacking other branches of the government, such as judges and lawyers, and greatly beefing up its military and all repressive apparatus, student newspapers could be a part of the resistance to these new norms. At a time when reality itself is being supplanted with official “alternative facts,” the Daily Cal should be on the frontline of finding out what is true and fighting for that.
As the Call to Action from Refuse Fascism states: “Fascism has direction and momentum. Dissent is piece by piece criminalized. The truth is bludgeoned. Group after group is demonized and targeted along a trajectory that leads to real horrors. All of this has already begun under the Trump Regime. History has shown that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late.”
Further, this call states: “Don’t Normalize…Don’t Accommodate…Don’t Conciliate…Don’t Collaborate… .”
UC Berkeley is famous because of its history of protest and rebellion since the 1960s. And many students are still drawn to attend it because of this history. There are big challenges to humanity and students have a key role. All students need to be clear and reject collaborating with fascism. And millions need to come out in determined resistance not stopping until the Trump/Pence regime is driven out.