The attacks on Berkeley by white supremacists are just one part of a larger trend in which fascism is gradually gaining a foothold into many of our institutions.
Berkeley is primed for another wave of white supremacist attacks next week with the inception of a series of talks euphemistically referred to as “Free Speech Week,” which will feature a full line-up of talks and presentations by alt-right media pundits (including Milo Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon, among others).
Partly in retaliation for the dramatic shut-down of Milo Yiannopoulos’s scheduled talk there last January by anti-fascist protestors—in which Yiannopoulos had planned to exercise his “free speech” rights to publicly reveal the names of undocumented students at UC Berkeley—the Berkeley College Republicans, with the financial backing of wealthy conservatives tied to the state of Israel, has invited a plethora of reactionary speakers to openly present their bigoted views on campus.
Although the content of these talks (which will include explicitly anti-Black, anti-immigrant, anti-trans hate speech targeted at vulnerable student populations) clearly violates the rights of students to work and study in an environment free of harassment (also known as Title IX), the university administration refuses to cancel these talks. This is because, according to them, they are a public university and are thus legally bound to uphold the First Amendment rights of all students (including those students who espouse extreme right-wing views) to invite speakers of their choice to campus.