Organizer of Berkeley anti-Marxist rally plans return during Free Speech Week

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Julian Kilchling/File

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Update 09/06/2017: This article has been updated with additional information about Amber Cummings and Free Speech Week.

Amber Cummings, organizer of the “No to Marxism in America” rally that was canceled the Friday before Aug. 27’s far-right rallies and counterprotests, is holding another rally during Milo Yiannopoulos’s Free Speech Week at UC Berkeley.

The event, called “Step on Marxism in America, No to Antifa Violence,” is scheduled on Facebook for Sept. 24, the first day of Yiannopoulos’s Free Speech Week, in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. On Aug. 27, thousands gathered in Civic Center Park as far-right activists and counterprotesters clashed, ending in 13 arrests. Cummings had originally scheduled her rally for that same day, but she canceled two days before in anticipation of violence.

In the event description, Cummings asked attendees to bring “Soviet Union flags” and stomp on them as a protest against “Marxist terrorists” in Berkeley. Cummings went on to label Antifa and left-wing activist group By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, as terrorist groups, warning attendees that Antifa and BAMN could attend and cause violence.

“Berkeley is harboring Marxist Terrorists and we must speak out and protest this. … Let’s stand up to Marxism by stomping on the vile Soviet flag and show our destain (sic) for communism in America,” Cummings wrote, in the Facebook event description. “Please just stomping, no burning of flags please. Let’s be lawful and not act like the animals in Antifa and BAMN.”

According to Cummings, she did not want violence at her rally, as she had stated several times before her previous rally, and groups such as neo-Nazis, the KKK and Antifa are not allowed. The event, Cummings wrote, is open to all races, genders and sexualities.

As first reported by Berkeleyside, Cummings returned unannounced to Civic Center Park on Sept. 2 to talk about free speech via a Facebook livestream. Alone in the park, Cummings claimed that Antifa is attempting to overthrow the government and accused them of terrorizing Berkeley residents during the Aug. 27 rally.

In a Facebook message, Cummings said she scheduled her event during Yiannopoulos’s Free Speech Week to show that not everyone in the LGBTQ community is liberal, as Yiannopoulos is a prominent gay conservative.

“I think a trans woman having a separate event and and a gay male shows that its (sic) a myth that everyone in the LGBT is leftist and we are accepted among the conservatives,” Cummings wrote.

After Yiannopoulos’s first scheduled campus event was canceled in the wake of fiery protests, Yiannopoulos vowed to return to Berkeley for a “free speech week,” now being sponsored by a conservative campus newspaper, the Berkeley Patriot. Free Speech Week is scheduled for Sept. 24-27, with Ann Coulter set to join Yiannopoulos to speak on campus.

Ashley Wong is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @wongalum.

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  • C Bierbauer78

    The Poop-triots threaten to come back for Freak Speech Week? I expect both of them to show up!

  • sundaze

    Why opposition to this rally? How about you let it be. This is the land of free speech right? And Berkeley is still located in America. We still have a constitution.
    Antifa? You foul mouthed, arrogant yet clueless useful idiots for the status quo–Please get another kind of job–maybe even in the private sector.

    • Snippy

      They are free to speak and hardly anyone would notice or care if they just went and got a permit and got on with their business, rather then these circuses designed for confrontation, which they keep claiming are something else–free speech, No to Marxism, etc. There are thousands of lectures a year that go on all over town without incident, but these are designed for the chaos, not the content and they get very disruptive and expensive for the city.

      • Becca Jones-Starr

        Technically both sides have the right to rally. Protest and counter protest-both in the right.

      • Becca Jones-Starr

        Snippy I so agree with you.

  • ShadrachSmith

    Berkeley has a free speech week? Who knew?

  • Rick Haute

    Anyone who thinks Marxism is a threat to the USA has a severely impaired sense of logic. Go protest something real. Oppose socialist policies (many of which you have likely benefited from) if you wish, but to conflate these policies with an oncoming Marxist takeover? Get real.

  • Becca Jones-Starr

    so is this going to be like every month now? soooo mannnny rallies and protests.
    also…”Antifa is attempting to overthrow the government” LOLOLOL please explain

  • FreedomFan

    Amber Cummings gets it. Berkeley is infested with violent marxists and their tools, including the mayor and most of the faculty.

    • Becca Jones-Starr

      Other than antifa and Bamn (they have been violent) who are “violent Marxists”? I’m not trying to be rude but genuinely curious what you are referring to.

  • Sam Spade

    Tsk Tsk Tsk. Well the Peoples Republic of Berkeley will rise once again

  • s randall

    “I think a trans woman having a separate event and and a gay male shows that its (sic) a myth that everyone in the LGBT is leftist and we are accepted among the conservatives,” Cummings wrote.

    Accepted as tools, but accepted as people? I don’t think so.

    • Becca Jones-Starr

      exactly!

  • Rollie

    Hmm, let’s see if this event is allowed to take place peacefully, with honest debate and spirited, non-violent counter-protest. If I were a betting man, I’d bet a nickel that Antifa and other thugs will show up and start their assaults, while of course conflating Cummings’ stated, anti-Marxist stance as something it apparently isn’t– white supremacy and naziism. But I’d really rather lose that bet.

    Yes, I’m aware that many believe Cummings’ stated views and persona to be a sham, and covertly hateful, but I’m unaware of any actual evidence to back up the accusation. It strikes me as an easy excuse for attacking opposing views, without having to do the work of constructing an argument. So to any of you who think that Cummings and her rally are really about white supremacy and/or naziism–will you please make your case?
    And please, leave the she-voted-for-a-nazi-therefore-she-is-a-nazi rationale at home, because it doesn’t fly.

    • Nunya Beeswax

      The question is whether she will spend more than 5 minutes on filling out the event permit with the city. Last time, the city denied her permit because the application was incomplete and she attempted to alter its terms.

      • Rollie

        Good point. Going lax on the permit application, or other procedural rquirements, only makes it easier for those who’d rather restrict free speech.

    • Becca Jones-Starr

      Voting for a white supremacist doesn’t make them a white supremacist?

      • Rollie

        No, Becca, voting for a white supremacist doesn’t necessarily make the voter into one too. (Are Clinton voters necessarily un-convicted felons, just because they voted for one?) For example, there are plenty of fine, decent people who voted for Trump in the belief that he himself is fine and decent, and the opposite of what you consider him to be. You can argue that they are mistaken in this belief, and I’d be inclined to agree with you, but if you don’t allow for people to have good intent and bad judgment at the same time, then you don’t understand human nature very well. And blunt stereotypes will always prevent you from finding common ground with those whose opinions are different than yours.

        • Becca Jones-Starr

          So when your side called us socialists voting for a socialist I guess you were just kidding because you can’t judge everyone right?

          • Rollie

            What do you mean “my” side? You have no idea what my side is, but are apparently comfortable leaping to some assumption about it, not to mention trying to put words in my mouth. By the way, how do you know that I didn’t vote for the socialist in question too?

          • Becca Jones-Starr

            I’m basing it off your initial comment near the top of the comments section (“Hmm, let’s see if this event is allowed to take place peacefully….”). To me that made it hilariously clear where you stand.

          • Rollie

            Please clarify–how does wishing for a peaceful event put me on the opposite side of you…are you saying that you don’t wish for a peaceful event? And how in the world would a wish for peaceful discourse lead you to imagine soemthing completely unrelated–namely, what my opinion of Sanders’ voters is?

            Let’s save some time here. If you prefer stereotyping people, then just say so and I’ll move on. But if you’re interested to know what my views and stances actually are, for the purpose of a meaningful exchange, then you can always try asking.