Dissent: Violence in recent protest did not provide long-term solution

CITY AFFAIRS: Antifa's actions at recent rally did not provide long-term solution to country's divisions

Willow Yang/Senior Staff

This week, a portion of the Editorial Board dissented with the majority opinion. Read the majority editorial here.

The country enters a dangerous territory when it overlooks the intricate facets of Saturday’s Free Speech Rally (or any protest) and its causes, as well as its ramifications for progression past the nation’s most precarious ideological divides.

White supremacists flocked to Berkeley, a sanctuary city famous for its liberal values. The fact that the supremacist ideology exists at all is repulsive, and the use of violence to defend such beliefs is even more vile. But the most visible resistance to such an abhorrent philosophy often manifests in counter-violence, further ingraining a stubborn righteousness into every point of view in the muddled equation.

Supremacists at the rally instigated the same kinds of over-the-top vicious tactics the alt-right criticizes Antifa for using, in turn demonstrating the hypocrisy that’s become normalized in American political polarization. The seemingly irreconcilable “sides” of the spectrum fail to understand that violence inflicted under the radicalized guise of “protecting free speech” or “protecting citizens from fascism” doesn’t just reflect poorly on their political platforms — it also perpetuates a cycle of fight after fight. Violence at such protests has become the immediate tactic to which opponents default, though it does little to produce long-term, net-positive change.

The violence that erupted Saturday is not novel in Berkeley — we saw it on campus when Milo Yiannopoulos came to speak, and we saw it March 4 when Trump supporters organized a rally. But all that the clashes have managed to promote is media sensationalism and widespread generalities about who “liberals” and “conservatives” ostensibly are. No one shifted their ideology after the clashes Saturday, no matter how many rocks were hurled. Instead, people continued to deny their complicity in the nation’s tumult.

But pointing fingers — at Antifa, at Republicans, at any of the other forces present at the Saturday rally — isn’t working. It makes it harder to fight against supremacists like the ones who showed up Saturday and the systems of oppression they openly tout. It makes it harder for voices from all parts of the political spectrum to truly exercise free speech. And peaceful protests, think pieces, votes and legislation have all largely failed to permanently remedy the impenetrable disconnect in this country as well, or we wouldn’t have neo-Nazis in our park.

When fists become a substitute for rational dialogue, though, we need to reflect on the productivity of stagnant hatred in lieu of intellectualism. While history shows that violence is not morally wrong or ineffective in every social movement, it proved a fruitless tool Saturday for promoting the enduring change that anti-fascists desire.

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  • TaiFood

    I find if disingenuous to promote superiority of attendees, or not, as the lever to violently censor Patriots.

    I thought profiling was a social evil? Isn’t it the basis for all racism/bigotry?

    Will you review your allegiance to the United States of America?

    My guess is no one on the editorial board is patriotic.

    E Pluribus Unum

  • ESPM360

    I challenge the editorial board to list acceptable conservative speakers who could deliver a speech in Berkeley.

  • David Bach

    I was hoping that perhaps more visioned heads would hold sway, and this editorial would call out Antifa for the boot-jacks that they are.

    Silly me.

  • Anax of Rhodes

    Berkeley police, this past weekend and early last month, were ordered to stand down from containing the violence erupting in front of them. Citizens fed up with everything joined the side against antifa, because police officers were ordered to not do their jobs.

    If no opposition arrived to the free speech rally on April 15th, the day would only be news as Tax Day like every year before it. Of course violence isn’t a long-term solution; long-term violence only leads to misery and ruin. Berkeley will become that ruin if it doesn’t clamp down on this violence soon.

  • skeptical1776

    So this part of the “editorial board” is supposed to be the rational one…. not really, a bunch of sniveling cowards you are, all of you. Both editorials – the “majority” one and this presumably more “moderate” minority one – are beyond contemptible. You must all come from absolutely horrible families and your education is unbelievably deficient.

  • FreedomFan

    So was the majority of the editorial board in favor of political violence or opposed?
    You would think these people could write a little better.

    • Tricia

      Yes, the majority editorial seemed to support the political violence when conducted by Antifa.

  • Leonidas

    Dissent is not tolerated in Berkeley California.
    If you dissent against the majority it could cost you your life.

  • Nunya Beeswax

    Division on the editorial board?!

  • Julia Babcock

    : )

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