A Statement On Yiannopoulos and the Berkeley Protests

To judge from my social media feeds, the protests at Berkeley that prevented white supremacist neo-fascist Milo Yiannopoulos from holding a rally have led to a lot of confusion and disorientation.  Here is my view:

I unconditionally defend the legal right of Yiannopoulos to speak, and Berkeley’s right to give him a platform.

I unconditionally defend the right of protesters to shut him down, drown him out, and interfere with his ability to spread his filth. Arguments that protesting against him “gives him attention” are bunk: every rally he is permitted to speak at gains him forces among the despairing, especially among the most frightened elements of the petty bourgeoisie.

I believe making these protests violent, at this stage of the struggle, does nothing more than open us up to police attacks and provocateurs, and so is ultimately reactionary, however well-intentioned are those engaging in it.

I’ve said before that freedom of speech is an important right, gained in the struggle against autocracy, and must be defended; we must never, ever, appeal to the courts or the laws or corporations to silence our enemies for us. But freedom of speech is not a magical principle that somehow exists apart from the class struggle. To fetishize it, to view it as separate from the fight of contending classes, to raise it above society, is philosophical idealism at its most destructive. The ideas of Yiannopoulos reflect material forces, and are used to rally and organize those forces. In this fight, they have the guns, the courts, the jails, the major media; we have our social position as the creators of all wealth, and our numbers.

When you say, “But if you have the right to use mass action to shut him up, doesn’t he have the right to use mass action to shut you up?” I say, yes, he has that right. Bring it on. At that point it becomes a test of strength, and I have confidence in our strength.

The desire to shut up Yiannopoulos is entirely healthy, and I salute the protesters who did so.

Such protests, however, are inherently limited. To move forward from here requires more than outrage, and even more than a willingness to take to the streets; it takes a perspective, a scientific understanding of the social forces at work, and a clear notion of where we’re going. The spread of overt fascism, along with the actions of the Trump regime and the cowardly caving in of the Democratic Party, whose leaders are rarely even making a token resistance, is a clear signal that we need to prepare to carry this fight through to the end, and that means building a leadership within the working class to fight under a revolutionary socialist program.

Published by

Avatar photo


I play the drum.

122 thoughts on “A Statement On Yiannopoulos and the Berkeley Protests”

  1. I would have more sympathy for this argument if the protests were by working class people. But they’re being done students and dropouts who have absorbed the identitarian beliefs that can be traced straight to privileged capitalist* academics of all hues in the Ivy Leagues.

    I agree with you that it’s reactionary. I was calling Antifa left-reactionaries a little earlier today.

    And there’s part of me that thinks, “Trump is doing a new evil thing every day, and you’re provoked to pepper-spray and pummel women because a conservative gay writer says mean things?”

    * I went googling once for evidence that Derrick Bell or Kimberle Crenshaw had ever said or done anything in support of socialism, and found nothing of substance.

  2. Oh, and I completely believe the bunk: if everyone had ignored him, only Breitbart readers would know his name and he would never have gotten a $250,000 book deal.

  3. Hm. I agree precisely with absolutely everything said here. I’m interested in this because I am fairly sure that 2 years ago I would have been maybe 60% of the way here.

    Will: the protestors can be involved in multiple actions, and likely are. It is possible to oppose both Milo and 45. Likewise, banding together against Milo has helped grow movements – even if they have empowered him by opposition, the alliances made, information spread, and morale raised have empowered the protestors as well. Likewise, while they drew attention to Milo, they did not increase the number of people who agreed with Milo – merely drew those people, and those opinions, into the open where they can be witnessed. I cannot comprehensively say fascism is never defeated by ignoring it – if it had been, nobody would have a record of it! But I can say that ignoring vileness is a poor strategy for building solidarity among the oppressed.

  4. Doylist, complete agreement. I support protest up to the point of trying to silence a speaker, and I support silent protest with armbands, signs, or whatever. You do not have to silence someone to protest them.

  5. This is Matt (Doyle/Smit), and we have hashed out our disagreements on silencing before recently enough that we could probably switch roles and carry on the dispute by memory. I will say, point well taken, even if I do not fully agree.

  6. Ah, I see I agreed with a first draft of your second paragraph that was much shorter than the final one.

    No, no one is saying fascists should be ignored when they have power. But all of Yiannopoulos’s power was given to him by his protesters. That’s where his internet presence came from. The notion that he is a significant threat is silly. He’s only a manifestation, and by targeting him, the authoritarian left has created new alliances between the libertarian left and right. What began as one issue is now blurred by the issue of whether speech should be met with violence and whether the left should adopt brown shirt tactics.

  7. Anticipating a common objection: I completely support the right to defend yourself. Some people have seen me quote this many times:

    “Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.” – Malcolm X

    But the notion that suckerpunching Richard Spencer or beating a guy unconscious at a Yiannopoulos speech is “defense” is ludicrous. It’s only doing the work of provocateurs, and may have been done by provocateurs.

  8. Sorry, I went in to edit to tweak a spelling error, and realized I had much more to say!

    I am not at all certain that the claim about Milo’s power is either provable or falsifiable. Nor do I think the politics of his protestors can all be glibly gathered under the authoritarian left envelope (and we have also disagreed many times about several different dismissive labels for huge sections of the left, which I still contend are not only inaccurate but oppositional to movement building and solidarity).

  9. I support the protests, but not necessarily beating someone unconscious (this is the first i heard that detail, so my opinion is unformed. I am as a general rule opposed to beatings except, as noted, in self defense, and i agree that protesting speech is unliekly to meet the criteria for self defense). I am also, as we discussed at length on Facebook, pretty agnostic about the punching of Spencer. I see merit in the aguments for and against, would not have done it myself, and feel little urge to praise or condemn the punchers.

  10. No worries about the edit. It’s the nature of the game.

    As for characterizing his protesters, early on there might’ve been people who simply wanted to protest his views, but as the protests continued, it became clear the goal was to make Milo much more famous, I mean, to silence him.

  11. I agree. Fascism has to be opposed. Violence at this point is generally counterproductive. It is going to “turn off” the people who are on the fence.

    On the subject of punching actual Nazi’s I am slightly torn. I wouldn’t punch someone myself unless provoked in my own or others defense. On the other hand, I can’t find it in myself to be upset at the puncher of said Nazi’s. People who want to kill/enslave large segments of the population are really putting themselves in the position of someone yelling fire in a crowded room.

  12. I think it is a mistake to seek the popularity of Yiannopoulos’s ideas either in him or in the protests against him. It is above all a reflection of the state of capitalism that these ideas are gaining currency, appearing “reasonable” to certain sections of society. The only response is to organize against them, and protests that keep him from speaking are an important part of that.

  13. Steve: Pretty much, yeah. Going out and finding Nazis to punch is no way forward at this point; but the impulse to do so is certainly healthy, as is the glee with which the action was received. This is where we need discipline and organization, until the point where we can come together and take a big left hook at capitalism itself.

  14. Agreed. Whatever catapulted Milo in particular to popularity, the audience receptive to his ideas existed because of their own perception of their fears and needs. As it’s important to note that mass movements, not FDR, were responsible for the New Deal, the rise of popularity in fascist ideology does not emanate from Milo – he is simply a visible figure pushed by the perception that his ideas benefit some people.

  15. I enjoyed this post a lot! I particularly appreciated your take on the violence at Cal, because it’s been hard to find coherent criticism of the anarchists. I’m not sure where I stand on it myself; lemme put something out there. Eyewitness account from a protester is here:


    My takeaway is that the Black Bloc engagement with police was a key tactic in shutting down the event; that without direct confrontation, the police would have cleared the area and allowed Milo to take the stage. Instead, they were forced to choose between escalating to more violent & publicly unacceptable tactics, and giving in to the protesters. I think this analysis holds up (thinking of other anti-fascist actions involving police in the past), but I’m not sure whether it’s sustainable, which is why I wanted to put it out there.

    (Also, that eyewitness account also points out that the anarchists couldn’t have succeeded without cover and support from the far greater mass of non-violent demonstrators. So regardless of the tactical analysis there I think it supports the necessity of a broader, non-violent moment.)

  16. Thanks, Reuben. This may be of interest: “In our eyes, individual terror is inadmissible precisely because it belittles the role of the masses in their own consciousness, reconciles them to their powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes towards a great avenger and liberator who some day will come and accomplish his mission. The anarchist prophets of the ‘propaganda of the deed’ can argue all they want about the elevating and stimulating influence of terrorist acts on the masses. Theoretical considerations and political experience prove otherwise. The more ‘effective’ the terrorist acts, the greater their impact, the more they reduce the interest of the masses in self-organisation and self-education. But the smoke from the confusion clears away, the panic disappears, the successor of the murdered minister makes his appearance, life again settles into the old rut, the wheel of capitalist exploitation turns as before; only the police repression grows more savage and brazen. And as a result, in place of the kindled hopes and artificially aroused excitement comes disillusionment and apathy.”
    — Trotsky, 1911

  17. The other violence was the consequence of the “tactical violence”.

    I miss the days when people who beat up people for what they said were called bullies rather than heroes.

    And I will add that I think comparing violence at Yiannopoulos’s speech to any of the times when working class people defended themselves from physical violence by the police or company stooges is an insult to the history of the struggle for socialism.

  18. I miss the days where we didn’t have a white supremacist outlet serving as state propaganda, but here we are! With respect, I’m not really interested in discussing this with you, Mr. Shetterly. Our fundamental assumptions are too different. Sorry.

  19. No worries, Mr. Poling. They have nothing in common, and I am not sorry. I feel about your easy dismissal of collateral damage the way I feel about our government’s.

  20. “I miss the days when people who beat up people for what they said were called bullies rather than heroes.”
    They still are. Those were Black Bloc invading the protest, as noted by the statement from the university. Berkley has had a problem with them for years.
    It’s the same group that punched Spencer and torched the limo, trashed Starbucks, etc.
    They film it and post it under different names. You can see the exact same footage from supposedly different camera phones posted around the net.

  21. Non-violence is a very powerful tactic. There is a reason that the F.B.I. plants under cover agents in peace groups and those agents try to incite the groups to acts of violence. Because those acts of violence can discredit the movements they are associated with. But I suppose there is a time and a place for most any tactic.

  22. He was apparently going to talk to a couple hundred people max, and because of the burning tires in the street he got broadcasted nationally – he’s about to go on Tucker Carlson as I’m typing this. He is tickled pink, so to speak, because his speech was violently cancelled.

    I disagree completely with trying to shut down this guy through protest (violent or not), it has only made him more visible. Two ways to actually do something: One, he has Q&As, bring something he can’t handle, guaranteed exposure, will hurt his brand. Two, ignore him utterly, nothing worse to a provocateur than having no one to provoke.

    As an aside, I’d never heard of Richard Spencer before I saw the video of a masked antifa suckerpunching him – instant sympathy, and instant exposure. Stupid.

    Also, Milo Yiannopoulos is many things: conservative, asshole, provocateur, internet troll, opportunist… but white supremacist neo-fascist? Never got that from what I’ve seen of his.

  23. Nathan S., I haven’t gotten that either from the little I’ve seen. I understand he’s open about having a thing for sex with black men. Whatever he is, he doesn’t fit the left’s old pigeonholes.

  24. Will, absolutely. From what I understand, he isn’t popular because of his conservative beliefs, he’s popular because he thumbs his nose at all the identity politics reactionaries, at the super-left professors, at the students who complain about Halloween costumes and Columbus statues, at the insane people who wake up every day wondering how to be offended on another’s behalf, all those who have had their way for years – and it is difficult for them to retaliate using their standard ammunition since he’s a gay Jew with jungle fever.

    I kind of like him, mostly because of the fact that to really deal with him they need to stop name calling and start putting forth arguments and evidence, and in that hopefully temper their radicalism. Or, I suppose they can admit defeat in the intellectual realm and put on a black mask, beating people unconscious while claiming to be against fascism.

  25. Nathan S.:”all those who have had their way for years” I think you might be a bit confused as to whom is having their way. If you want to know this, look at who is occupying the presidency and who is on the list of Forbes billionaires.
    Those are the people who have been having their way for years. People who don’t belong to those lists will eventually discover that the people on the lists aren’t on their side. That is where Trump voters and Milo are very wrong.

  26. Oh, lots of different people have been having their way for years. That definitely includes the identitarians who were happy under neoliberalism.

    I have been wondering if the people who mock free speech will rethink that with Trump in the White House.

  27. Will:I don’t think that I agree that a lot of people have been having their way. There are lots of people who are complaining about many things. Many of the things of which they complain are real and often horrible.
    Let’s think about Prometheus. Every day, an eagle flies by and eats his liver. This is a fairly terrible thing to have happen and Prometheus might say something like, “Gee, I wish the eagle would stop coming back.” However, the eagle isn’t going to stop coming back no matter how much Prometheus might like it to and no matter how much his claim that having his liver eaten is really really painful is correct. (It’s totally painful, by the way.)
    Prometheus might also recognize that a deeper cause of his current problem is that he is chained to a mountainside. This is what lets the eagle come back everyday and prevents Prometheus from going away. So, is the chain that binds Prometheus the real problem?
    No, Prometheus is a cagey dude and he realizes that his actual problem is that Zeus wants him to be on the mountainside and Zeus wants Prometheus to have his liver eaten every day. The deck is stacked against him and only by removing the old order can Prometheus finally be free of his torment.

  28. Steve, we’re hitting the difference between “a lot” and “most”, and we’re missing the context. On university campuses, a lot of people have been using the heckler’s veto successfully. They seem to be exclusively identarians who are more concerned with mean words than what’s happening to the working class.

    For your analogy, they’re the people who look at what Zeus is doing to Prometheus and say the eagle should eat his liver with more respect.

  29. To which I’ll only add, I think people that complain so vehemently about indentitarians always strike me as birds resenting Prometheus’ batting at them. Yes, we are all suffering beneath the thumb of Zeus, and we really should all be more concerned about that, but getting bent out of shape because someone really doesn’t like being torn at by sharp talons is a little petty. If you can embrace a Trump supporter, feel his pain, and try to raise his consciousness, can’t you do the same for all the people that hate to be denied opportunity or get called unpleasant names, all due to some characteristic they were born with? Not to say that you wouldn’t, but the tone of conversation around here can get a little intolerant about that.

    You don’t want to be the last member of the People’s Front of Judea, to mix metaphors and genres.

  30. Something I learned today about Milo that solidified my stance against him: apparently, at his speeches he likes to out trans women (an action which often causes immediate and urgent danger to their safety, and which should be treated as equivalent to violence, as far as I am concerned), and was evidently planning to out illegal immigrants in his Berkeley speech.


    offers one instance of this – I have been told there are other examples, and


    seems to imply Berkeley officials thought this might be the case.

    This is not just “free speech.” This is essentially an incitement to lynch, and I do not use that word lightly.

  31. Lars, identitarians and universalists are further apart than you seem to think. Usually when you dig into an identitarian issue, there’s a class issue they’re ignoring. Such as the fact that the racial statistics for police killings in the US are identical to the racial statistics for poverty because there are few exceptions to the rule that cops kill poor people.

    Doylist, mocking is rude and mean and crass, but it’s not “outing”.

  32. Outing. He posted her picture and name and informed the crowd that she was trans. In the trans community, there is a strong awareness that being singled out like this is often prelude to an attack, and as one of the single most at-risk populations for targeted violence in the United States, trans people are very aware that to be publicly singled out is a direct and deliberate threat to their lives. It is a prelude to a lynch mob. It is speech that incites physical danger, no different from shouting “fire” in the theater.

  33. I’m not going to defend what he did, but my understanding is she was already a public figure, and she was at his event. If so, that ain’t outing. Does she say she was outed?

  34. You made me google.

    Kramer outed herself on regional TV when she “liberated” the women’s room and then talked to news reporters about it. You can see that here: http://www.tmj4.com/news/local-news/uwm-student-says-shes-been-discriminated-against-at-the-klotsche-center

    Translating her letter into simple English boils down to this:

    She is upset that the chancellor didn’t abandon the principle of free speech and cancel a speaker who had been invited by a student group.

    She is upset that when protesters who wanted him to cancel the speech would not leave his office, he called the cops to have them removed rather than cancel the speech.

    She is upset that at the speech, Yiannopoulos referred to a very public local incident that she had created.

    The rest of the letter is a hissyfit because she doesn’t want anyone to disagree with her or say anything mean. And I sympathize with that. Sometimes I wish I could silence anyone who disagreed with me or said mean things about me. But then I sigh and move on with my life.

    To be clear here, I think people should use the bathroom they want to use.

    And I think people should talk to news reporters if they want to.

    But I do not think people should pretend they have been outed when they have outed themselves so very thoroughly.

  35. Yeah, classic victim complex in regards to Kramer – lies and half-truths for sympathy points.

    Steve Halter: When I mentioned extreme lefties having their way I was referring to academia especially – conservatives can very quickly find themselves to be personae non gratae in fields outside of hard science and business. This also applies, although somewhat less so, to the entertainment industry as well as the social arena in general. Sorry for being unclear.

  36. Will- I often agree with you on other issues, but please consider: In your ardent defense of free speech, I keep seeing you defend absolutely revolting people, while condemning people whose chief crime seems to be that they feel threatened or misunderstood. Why on this issue do you end up siding with oppressors while vilifying the oppressed? I understand you think they feel oppressed for the wrong reason, but isn’t there some way you could look at these conflicts that would leave you with more fellow feeling for the underdog and less for the fascist? Because, all kidding aside, black boy-lover or not, Yiannopolous revels in offense and kisses plutocratic ass to get ahead, and never met a woman he didn’t want to put down, or a minority he didn’t want to mock.

    Although to be fair to him, he is as hateful to his own “race”. One of his earlier claims to fame was starting a scholarship for white men only, but then pocketing all the money before it could be distributed.

  37. Lars, to defend free speech, you have to defend the right to speak of people you wish would shut up.

    I may be more adamant about this than some people because when I was a kid, I was beaten by racists who believed my support for integration justified it. That made me associate censorship and physical violence against speakers with the KKK and the John Birch Society. Then, when I read a little history, I added brownshirts and blackshirts to the list of people who use those tactics.

    Got a link to Yiannopoulos pocketing the scholarship money? Just today in checking out the Kramer story, I saw something suggesting he was still promoting the scholarship.

  38. Will- yeah, I see he released a story through Breitbart that he still has all the money and is accepting applications for his “Privilege Awards” now. When I posted, I had only read a Guardian story about Margaret MacLennan quitting as manager and accusing him of transferring the $100 k they had collected to his private account. Still hasn’t filed non-profit paperwork, still hasn’t opened the books… someday we’ll see if it all went up his nose or not, I suppose. Not important to the discussion, really.

    OK, I get that in the realm of hurting peoples’ feelings vs denying the right to speech you have taken a clear side. I cannot deny the principal… I wouldn’t try to block his appearance on any campus. I might, if it seemed an important enough opportunity, stage a competing event to spread a more rational, less self-serving message than his.

    The only thing I’ll say is it shocks me sometimes that you seem so cuttingly dismissive of the people you consider identitarians and strangely apologetic on behalf of the people verbally assaulting others and calling it political speech. I think it should be possible to defend the principal of free speech and condemn the tactics of the protesters trying to silence it, while still allowing that they might be feeling genuine fear or justifiable resentment toward the person they are trying to silence.

    I am not a transgender man or woman, so I don’t actually know what it is like to worry every time I go into a restroom whether someone is going to call security to throw me out, or just beat me for being in the wrong place. But I know that it happens, just like I now know about your being beaten for your opinions. So, saying that Yiannapolous singling out that woman to a room full of his supporters is no justification for the woman feeling threatened is disingenuous. Yes, she might be out already, but the black protesters at Trump rallies didn’t need to be outed as black, did they? We all saw what happened to them when Trump pointed to them from his stage.

    When people feel threatened or oppressed, they run or they fight back. The fighting back is just what we want as activists, isn’t it? You aren’t going to win any of those Berkeley protesters to your point of view or to your way of fighting back by telling them they are whiners or brownshirts.

  39. It’s possible that having seen people I love being attacked by identitarians makes me less gentle than I might be. I have seen them ban, boycott, dox, and issue death threats while screaming that they are victims. I’ve gotten a death threat from one—it’s one of the three I’ve collected in my life. The other two were from racists. It’s hard for me to pity people who are guilty of the sins they denounce.

    I am also a fan of the truth. Bad people should be denounced accurately. When a rumor mill is exposed, it makes onlookers doubt the valid charges.

    I don’t expect to win any fans of black blocking to my view. I can only hope they’ll learn more about the world someday.

  40. Kramer tried to shut his talk down very loudly and very publicly. It doesn’t seem to me outlandish, exceedingly vindictive, or even a dick move for Milo to then mention her actions during said speech. It appears to me that Kramer being trans was tangential to the issue, unless one believes that mentioning disagreement with a transgender person’s actions is inherently suggesting violence to him or her.

    In such a case, I don’t know where a line can be drawn: Exactly how loudly can one disagree with a disadvantaged person’s views or actions before it becomes dangerous hate speech? Can one quantify disadvantage and disagreement? Continuing down this rabbit hole leads into an absurdity where opponents must calculate oppression scores before presenting arguments and sandbag responses if the points are too far apart.

    White Man’s Burden Calculus. How quaint, ironic, and terrifying.

    Will – It is hard for me to believe that most of the fans of black blocking are much more than young people pissed off – at their parents, at the world, name it – who just want to break things and have fallen prey to an ideology that is simultaneously fascist and antifascist, one that gives them an excuse to bust someone’s head with a stick and still lets them feel like they’re doing good.

    Time should be enough for most of them, I hope, since confrontation – either physically or through ideas – plays into their doublethink. I would think enough occurrences of them asking cops to arrest someone who pushed through their line right after chanting, “This is what a police state looks like,” or perhaps looking at Milo’s book sales after a “successful” protest would shake something loose in their heads. Then again, I could be wrong about that.

  41. Nathan S. ” It appears to me that Kramer being trans was tangential to the issue, unless one believes that mentioning disagreement with a transgender person’s actions is inherently suggesting violence to him or her.”

    Oh, come on now! Did you read the description of his speech?He didn’t casually mention she was trans and complain in a gentlemanly fashion about their dispute.He projected a picture of her early in her transition with her name splashed across it, mocked her for not looking very feminine, asked again and again, “Have you met her? Do you know her?”, said he might be tempted to have sex with her still, said she invaded the girls locker room, in true liberal fashion, using courts and activist judges… all to a student group dedicated to proclaiming their white male grievances against uppity women and minorities. For all your disgust with overreaching liberals, surely you know something about the behavioral triggers of white power campus bros, right? That speech was 10 kinds of red flags, inviting if not violence, then at the very least, harassment. To pretend anything else is complete, intellectual dishonesty.

    So, Will, yes, bad people should be denounced accurately.

  42. And can I add? Milo is just as much an identitarian as any of the people protesting him. He just has chosen to self identify not as gay, not as Jewish, but as that most misunderstood and harassed minority of all, the white male, denied his rightful heritage by a cruel, liberal world.

  43. There are right and left identitarians. I’m far more sympathetic to left-identitarians, but when they behave as badly as right-identitarians, I say a pox on both their houses.

    I know you want extra reasons to hate Yiannopoulos, but the picture he showed was, I’m assuming, from one of Kramer’s interviews with the media. Yes, Yiannopoulos was rude, but I don’t see how he could’ve updated Kramer’s photo. He was dealing with what Kramer gave the world six months earlier.

    In the interest of accuracy, I’ll note that casting Yiannopoulos as being all about white male privilege isn’t accurate. He wouldn’t have black and Asian fans if that was so. Many members of the left keep trying to fit the modern right into a 20th century model. I suspect that’s much of the reason they’ve been so ineffective.

  44. Will, do you have nonbinary friends who you could discuss this issue with? We seem to be failing at articulating to you the degree of physical danger Yiannopolous knowingly placed Kramer in. The way you and Nathan S. are trivializing it is breathtaking and appalling all at once. I hate to ask someone who faces that degree of danger in their own lives to deal with this attitude, but maybe they can make you see it where we cannot. I really, l honestly believe from my experience witnessing hostility against my own nonbinary friends that what Yiannopolous did was knowingly incite a lynching. I am relieved one did not take place. I believe the consequences for it should be commensurate with the gravity of that action.

    As someone who has been the recipient of physical violence and death threats, I simply do not understand how you can be so cavalier about this. I can’t even begin to comprehend it.

  45. Will- You are responding to my post like oneillisinwisonsin to an anti-Hillary post. For the record, Yiannopolous is the one who started a scholarship for white males only and named it “Privilege”… that wasn’t slick SJWs trying to tar him unfairly, he did that himself. Would you like me to extend him the benefit of the doubt? OK, I half suspect that it is all a game to him to stir the shit and get rich and famous. But the gravy train HE is choosing to ride is called Breitbart/Bannon/Trump. White power isn’t the only car on the train, but he sure isn’t trying to avoid it. For the record, I really don’t need to invent reasons to hate him. Have you heard him speak? He is quite easy to hate. He loves that he is.

    As far as his intentions toward the trans student, his intention was to shut her up. Exactly the same as hers towards him. Does he get a pass from you because he was the one on the stage and she was with the protesters? Just like you couldn’t understand O’Neill’s inability to parse poll results, I don’t get how you can look at his behavior on stage and not see it for what it was. He said she didn’t look like a woman. He said she pushed her way into the women’s locker rooms with government interference and stupid laws. He said she looked male enough that he might like to fuck her… that is all so obvious and pointed. He was painting her as a pervert and a target to a roomful of boys he knew were intolerant of anyone different. It isn’t about whether he picked a flattering picture.

    If your principles say that a college student trying to silence a hotshot media star is exactly as bad as that media figure trying to silence the college student, fair enough. But, please, don’t try to paint him as a victim of left-wing nazis.

  46. He became a media star because of the people who try to silence him. “Victim” is such a loaded word that I wouldn’t use it. He’s the target of would-be censors. That doesn’t give me any more sympathy for the things he says that I reject, but I support his right to speak in the same way I oppose the death penalty for people who have committed horrible crimes. Opposing the death penalty does not excuse or forgive what was done. Opposing censorship does not excuse or forgive what was said.

    I mentioned Kramer’s picture because you or she seemed to think it was significant that he used one from earlier in her transition.

    His scholarship program is a joke that points out the selective logic of identitarianism. I’ve noticed it often. Science fiction fandom has a funding program to help people of color go to conventions, but there’s nothing to help poor white fans because identitarians think poor white people are privileged and therefore don’t deserve help.

  47. I assume a Venn diagram of he fans of Milo Yiannopoulos and those who voted for Donald Trump have a large area of intersection.

    “Grab ’em by the pussy” didn’t stop many people from voting for Trump. The norms, mores of a large segment of our society is the product of what, to me, is simply an alien mind. Combine this with their often avowed adherence to Christian principles and the only answer I can find is insanity.

    Perhaps there is another answer, but ever since they bought what George H. W. Bush called “voodoo economics” the conservative mind in this country has slipped deeper and deeper into an alternate reality.

    Like Will I believe in the Justice Brandeis aphorism that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Or should I say I used to believe in it. Obviously shedding light on these beliefs isn’t a very good disinfectant nowadays. Like many of our antibiotics that are ineffective against a growing array of rapidly evolving bacteria it seems a large segment of our populace has developed a resistance to any criticism of their tribal affiliates regardless the basis of that criticism.

    I’m reminded of the old 70s poem “A Bummer” by Michael Casey which concludes:

    If you have a farm in Vietnam
    And a house in hell
    Sell the farm
    And go home

    Sunlight no longer works as a disinfectant? You’re screwed.

  48. Sunlight is rarely the only factor. I suspect I’ll have to share this as long as Trump is Prez: http://www.juancole.com/2016/11/rebelled-neoliberalism-literally.html

    As for whether Yiannopoulos is mostly supported by Trump fans, my guess is they’re a majority but I’m not sure of that. Identitarians claim GamerGate is mostly white male conservatives, yet there are many exceptions to all three of those categories. This over-simplication of the opposition explains why Clinton fans can’t understand that the reason Sanders got more support overall was because his issues drew conservatives away from Trump and Johnson, and leftists away from Stein.

  49. Will, I didn’t see anything in Juan Cole’s article that would explain Milo Yiannopoulos’ popularity among conservatives or anything that would explain how anyone with Trump’s social mores could gather a majority of *Republican* votes – much less win the Presidency.

    In neither of these cases does shedding light on their views and/or actions serve as a disinfectant.

    Neoliberal bashing is the left equivalent of hippie bashing. Neither one bears much resemblance to reality.

    University of Manitoba’s Professor Robert Altmeyer’s “The Authoritarians” is both an academic book founded on actual case studies collected over several decades and a much more believable explanation. Sunlight simply doesn’t work on this disease. As Altmeyer wrote with accurate foresight back in 2006:

    “So what’s to be done right now? The social dominators and high right-wing authoritarians presently marshaling their forces for the next election in your county, state and country, are perfectly entitled to do what they’re doing. They have the right to organize, they have the right to proselytize, they have the right to select and work for candidates they like, they have the right to vote, they have the right to make sure folks who agree with them also vote.

    If the people who are not social dominators and right-wing authoritarians want to have those same rights in the future, they, you, had better do those same things too, now. You do have the right to remain silent, but you’ll do so at everyone’s peril. You can’t sit these elections out and say “Politics is dirty; I’ll not be part of it,” or “Nothing can change the way things are done now.”The social dominators want you to be disgusted with politics, they want you to feel hopeless, they want you out of their way. They want democracy to fail, they want your freedoms stricken, they want equality destroyed as a value, they want to control everything and everybody, they want it all. And they have an army of authoritarian followers marching with the militancy of “that old-time religion” on a crusade that will make it happen, if you let them.

    Research shows most people are not in this army. However Americans have, for the most part, been standing on the sidewalk quietly staring at this authoritarian parade as it marches on. You can watch it tear American democracy apart, bit by bit, bite by bite. Or you can exercise your rights too, while you still have them, and get just as concerned, active, and giving to protect yourself and your country. If you, and other liberals, other moderates, other conservatives with conscience do, then everything can turn out all right. But we have to get going. If you are the only person you know who grasps what’s happening, then you’ve got to take leadership, help inform, and organize others. One person can do so much; you’ve no idea! And two can do so much more.

    But time is running out, fast, and nearly everything is at stake.”

    Many thought that Obama getting elected had stopped right-wing authoritarians, but they weren’t paying attention to the state and local levels. The Obama administration was but a minor setback, they continued forging ahead with Governors like Sam Brownback and Scott Walker. Now, because too few people heeded Altmeyer’s advice we are where we are.

  50. O’Niell, I reshared that link because of your ““Grab ’em by the pussy” didn’t stop many people from voting for Trump.” I didn’t mean it to explain Yiannopoulos’s supporters, in part because his supporters are not limited to Trump supporters.

    The idea that powerless hippies are equivalent to the neoliberals running Clinton and putting us where we are now is funny.

  51. “I assume a Venn diagram of he fans of Milo Yiannopoulos and those who voted for Donald Trump have a large area of intersection.”

    Is there any easy way to measure the fans of Yiannopoulos? I don’t have one. I have this — in December 2015, Breitbart.com had 17 million different visitors. Presumably some of them read Yiannopoulos.

    You can inaccurately measure Trump fans by the election. Somewhere around 28% of voters voted for him. About half of his voters were not so much fans of Trump as they saw it as their chance to vote against Clinton. That leaves us with something under 15% who might have been fans, and maybe 40% who did not find him unacceptable.

    (Similarly Clinton got something under 30% of voters, and half of them said they were mainly voting against Trump. Which leaves her with around 15% of voters as supporters.)

    Does 15% of the public read Yannoulos? Did that many know who he was before this last media push? I very much doubt it. He doesn’t have nearly that many fans. A lot of the people who voted for Trump have still not heard of him. A lot of them would be disgusted by him.

    He is not nearly as big as Trump. That Venn diagram will probably have most of Yiannopoulos’s fans in the Trump part, but not very many of Trump’s fans in the Yiannopoulos part.

  52. “Grab ’em by the pussy” didn’t stop many people from voting for Trump. The norms, mores of a large segment of our society is the product of what, to me, is simply an alien mind.”

    You have to look at it in context.

    The only alternative to Trump was to put Bill Clinton back in the White House as house-husband. It was 100% sleaze either way.

    Close to 15% of voters said they agreed with Trump about policy etc, and close to 15% of voters thought it was more important to vote against Clinton than vote against Trump.

    That 15% is the large segment that you consider alien. They have gotten entirely negative media attention which makes them harder to understand. But are they really that hard to follow? It’s a bunch of attitudes around the idea that their culture ought to be OK, that the USA ought to be strong, that we all ought to contribute to society and people who contribute ought to be rewarded, etc. They tend to dislike the idea that people with other cultures parasitize them, that the government parasitizes them, that giant businesses parasitize them, etc. They want to believe that they are valuable, or they would be valuable given the chance.

    The media pays most attention to the ones that are newsworthy. Gamergaters who are unattractive to women. Speed-seduction experts who claim they are attractive to women. Racists who think there aren’t enough jobs and there ought to be enough jobs for whites. Nazis who think that Jews run the predatory banks. Christians who think we ought to have a Christian society.

    They think they get bad press. They are a sizeable minority but not that hard to understand if you assume that the media misreports them.

  53. Will writes: “The idea that powerless hippies are equivalent to the neoliberals running Clinton and putting us where we are now is funny.”

    Last I checked it was generally assumed that the hippies won the culture war.

    Lady Gaga is performing at halftime of the Super Bowl. Had the hippies not won how likely would that be?

    More important, my comment was referring to the problematic nature of ‘neoliberal’ – it means a thousand different things to a thousand different people. It lumps people under a label, then by association attaches policies and views incorrectly.

    I don’t know of any common usage of ‘neoliberal’ under which Clinton or Obama even qualify as ‘neoliberals.’ I.e., per our past discussions, mixed economies are not ‘neoliberal’ — they obviously recognize the limits of markets. Neoliberals rarely, if ever, admit such distinctions.

    Mostly I see ‘neoliberal’ misused where ‘oligarchy’ or ‘corporatocracy’ ‘rule by and for elites’ or similar sentiments are actually being expressed.

    150 years ago Karl Marx saw the powers inherent in markets and capitalism. It is odd that so many that claim to follow Marx deny these powers. The question is not are markets powerful, but how do we harness their power for the most good. Neoliberals tend towards laissez faire belief in markets. Everyone else recognizes limits to market power. I find it laughable to put Clinton, Obama, or any Democrat I know of – even conservative Democrats – into the ‘neoliberal’ column.

  54. Hippies won the fashion war. We didn’t end the war in Vietnam or get Nixon out of office. Capitalism is stronger today than it was in the ’60s. We lost.

    What Lady Gaga does could’ve been done in Berlin under the Nazis.

    Neoliberal does not mean a thousand different things. It means a liberalism that prefers the private sector to the public sector and therefore encourages things like charter schools and mandatory insurance.

    This might help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzLv3rfnOVw

  55. Will, how many Democrats are favoring the abandonment of the public school system in favor of charter schools? How many are in favor of getting rid of Social Security or Medicare in favor of purely private replacements? Was the ACA an improvement in our health care system or not?

    Once again the perfect is the enemy of the good and all who don’t pick my perfect way of doing things are equivalent. If that’s a caricature of your position I apologize, but that’s what I see here time after time.

  56. Let me stress this: Choosing the candidate who did worse against Trump was purist politics. The Clinton camp chose the enemy of the good, and therefore they lost.

  57. The ‘culture war’ that I alluded as described by Wikipedia:

    “The legacy of the hippie movement continues to permeate Western society. In general, unmarried couples of all ages feel free to travel and live together without societal disapproval. Frankness regarding sexual matters has become more common, and the rights of homosexual, bisexual and transsexual people, as well as people who choose not to categorize themselves at all, have expanded. Religious and cultural diversity has gained greater acceptance. Co-operative business enterprises and creative community living arrangements are more accepted than before. Some of the little hippie health food stores of the 1960s and 1970s are now large-scale, profitable businesses, due to greater interest in natural foods, herbal remedies, vitamins and other nutritional supplements.”

    Fashion? I’ve never actually seen anyone say Lady Gaga dresses like a hippie, but she definitely stands for many of the ideas that Wikipedia lists.

    Sometimes I’m sure that the thrust of my argument is misunderstood because I’m not making my point clear enough. Othertimes I have to believe the reader bears as much fault as the writer. This is a case where I say, fashion? Really?

  58. When I was young, I had long hair. At the time in the South, this was a political statement. I was bicycling once and someone threw a coke bottle at my head and shouted “Hippie!” Fortunately, the bottle missed.

    Long hair is no longer a big deal.

    Capitalism still rules.

  59. Will, your Politico link says nothing about the Clinton’s actual record. NYTimes, Dec 22, 1991 on Arkansas:

    “”A lot of Southern governors have done a lot of talking about education, but the rubber meets the road when you start paying for it,” said Dr. Kern Alexander of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, who wrote a brutal indictment of Arkansas’s educational system in 1978. “Despite coming from a very poor state, he has done more than talk about it.”

    Using as a standard state and local revenue per pupil adjusted for personal income, Professor Alexander said Arkansas, which is 47th in per capita income, now ranks 23d in the fiscal effort to support public schools.

    Mr. Clinton’s push for educational change began in 1983. The program was tough, calling for teacher competency testing that enraged teachers’ groups, and it was expensive, calling for a 1 cent increase in the sales tax.

    The program, which established standards for teachers and students, mandated smaller classes and elementary school counselors, and established the nation’s first eighth-grade test that students must pass before beginning high school.

    Other educational programs followed in 1989 and 1991. They included the nation’s second program to allow students to choose the schools they would attend, some mergers of inefficient small districts, $1,000 yearly college scholarships for qualifying middle-income and poor students, increases in teacher pay and a revamping of vocational education programs.

    Between 1983-84 and 1990-91, the percentage of Arkansas high school graduates going to college rose to 48 percent, from 38 percent. In 1983-84, only 46 percent of the state’s high schools offered physics courses and 68 percent, chemistry. Now, they all do.”

    Remember, they did this while being *attacked* by liberals because they paid for it with a regressive sales tax. The perfect remains the enemy of the good. Yep, these Clintons should be strung up for crimes against public education. Hey, but they got booed by a crowd of teachers for mentioning charter schools – see, evidence they are evil villains and tools of the nefarious neoliberals.

    I grow bored.

  60. We both grow bored. Yes, neoliberalism includes preferring charter schools. You may insist what you do not understand has no meaning, but as you suggested above, sometimes the failure to understand lies with the person who does not try to understand. If you wish to try, you might read David Harvey’s book on neoliberalism. It helped me grasp the concept.

  61. Will, what part of education reform in Arkansas under Clinton included charter schools? Nada. Has she called for replacing our public schools with charter schools? No. Has she supported limited use of public charter schools? Yes – so has the NEA, the largest labor union in the USA and one comprised mainly of teachers. And has always opposed school vouchers.

    Your black and white world is what I find boring. The Clintons have fought harder for public education improvements than just about anyone in politics during the last 30 years, but you *still* manage to find a reason to diss them.

    Did you even read the Politico article that you linked to? What did she say? “when schools get it right, whether they are traditional public schools or public charter schools, let’s figure out what’s working … and share it with schools across America.” That drew boos. Imagine that. Let’s figure out what’s working and share it. My god, the nerve of the woman. Obviously she’s a neoliberal that wants to take all of our public schools and turn them into private institutions paid for by the taxpayers.

    Karl Marx recognized the power of markets. Was Marx also a neoliberal?

  62. Will – unlike you, I’ve actually followed most of those links. Hours ago. I found one substantive quote. It’s from her acceptance speech upon receiving the NEA’s “Friend of Education Award” back in 1999. I alluded to it when I said the NEA has *also* supported charter schools. Perhaps you missed that.

    What you’re telling me is that you *haven’t* found anything contrary to what I’ve already posted. You ignore all the work she and her husband have done.

    Here’s an excerpt from that acceptance speech:

    “So let me ask you to join in that effort to convince everyone you can reach about the importance of reading. And let me also ask you to stand with me in pushing for universal access to quality, affordable preschool programs for every child. And that includes Head Start, home visitations, high quality child care, early Head Start—whatever it takes to enable working parents to know that their children are well-cared for and are being well-prepared for school.

    I also hope that you will continue to stand behind the charter school/public school movement, because I believe that parents do deserve greater choice within the public school system to meet the unique needs of their children. I recently, a few years ago, gave a commencement at a school in Washington, D.C., that has very selective admissions criteria. And the students there know that when they go there they are going to have to take much harder classes, they are going to have to study Latin, and they really are going to have to apply themselves. And every year the school system and the application process had hundreds more students applying than they could possibly accommodate in that one school. And I said to the people in the school and in the school system, “Why don’t you start another school like that?” Because clearly these students and their parents want to be held accountable for this higher curricular standard.

    Well, slowly but surely, we’re beginning to create schooling opportunities through the public school charter system that are providing those kinds of options for parents and students—raising academic standards, empowering educators. And I invite educators to be at the forefront of this. Because I know that the NEA has already helped to create a number of charter schools. And I’m very pleased that you have done this, because I think when we look back on the 1990s, we will see that the charter school movement led by experienced, committed, expert educators will be one of the ways we will have turned around the entire public school system.”

    Yes, the speaker here obviously wants to subvert the public education system. The neoliberal plot to destroy public education has been exposed. God forbid anyone seek better ways to educate children. And it’s good to see that the NEA has been exposed as an extension of this nefarious neoliberal cabal.

    Oh, and I learned Andre Agassis is a not-so-secret member as well:

    “Andre says The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation has done a lot to help children through the years. “But I realized the best way to impact a child is to educate them, to give them the tools to not only dream but also to reach out and take ownership of those dreams and get them,” he says.

    President Clinton says he featured Andre’s school in Giving, his new book, because charter schools are an issue he has cared about since he worked to create more of them during his presidency. “In the entire county in which Las Vegas is in Nevada, including all the wealthy areas, his school was the only one that received the highest designation in performance from the State of Nevada—in the poorest neighborhood in the state,” he says. “I featured him because I wanted people to know that this could be done.”

    In addition to its achievements, President Clinton says he wanted to show people the school’s rules and Code of Conduct. “I think a lot of people have given up on public schools. They don’t think this can happen,” he says. “[Andre] has proved that if you have the right rules, the right school culture, you can do it.”

    The nerve of these people just astounds me.

  63. O’Neill, you need to convince millions of Americans that she’s not a neoliberal. I was only one vote, and my state went for Clinton.

  64. Will, I wrote many hours ago, “More important, my comment was referring to the problematic nature of ‘neoliberal’ – it means a thousand different things to a thousand different people. It lumps people under a label, then by association attaches policies and views incorrectly.
    I don’t know of any common usage of ‘neoliberal’ under which Clinton or Obama even qualify as ‘neoliberals.’ I.e., per our past discussions, mixed economies are not ‘neoliberal’ — they obviously recognize the limits of markets. Neoliberals rarely, if ever, admit such distinctions.”

    Obviously that was a too subtle hint that you ought to check the definition.

    Wikipedia: “Neoliberalism (neo-liberalism) refers primarily to the 20th century resurgence of 19th century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism.These include extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society.These market-based ideas and the policies they inspired constitute a paradigm shift away from the post-war Keynesian consensus which lasted from 1945 to 1980. The implementation of neoliberal policies and the acceptance of neoliberal economic theories in the 1970s are seen by some academics as the root of financialization, with the financial crisis of 2007–08 as one of the ultimate results.”

    Wiki different entry: “In the study of international relations, neoliberalism refers to a school of thought which believes that states are, or at least should be, concerned first and foremost with absolute gains rather than relative gains to other states. Neoliberalism is not the same as neoliberal economic ideology, although both theories use common methodologies, which include game theory.”

    Hillary Clinton co-sponsored the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The single largest Keynesian program since the Great Depression. That kind of eliminates her from the first definition and the second seems largely irrelevant. Supporting Social Security, supporting Medicare, and increased funding for public education are all decidedly NOT neoliberal positions.

    I’m beginning to suspect a one-drop-rule.

  65. Will, Harvey offers almost the exact same definition of ‘neoliberal’ as Wiki:

    “Will, Harvey offers a definition and it’s not one I find much disagreement with. If anything, he’s simply reinforcing the Wikipedia definition I’ve already referenced:

    “Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices. [[The state has to guarantee, for example, the quality and integrity of money. It must also set up those military, defence, police, and legal structures and functions required to secure private property rights and to guarantee, by force if need be, the proper functioning of markets.]] Furthermore, if markets do not exist (in areas such as land, water, education, health care, social security, or environmental pollution) then they must be created, by state action if necessary. But beyond these tasks the state should not venture. State interventions in markets (once created) must be kept to a bare minimum because, according to the theory, the state cannot possibly possess enough information to second-guess market signals (prices) and because powerful interest groups will inevitably distort and bias state interventions (particularly in democracies) for their own benefit.”

    The section I’ve enclosed in [[ ]] seems to me to have nothing to do with neoliberalism per se, but has been a chief aim of states for forever.

    So once again I’ll ask – is Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, Dodd-Frank, increased regulations regarding educational standards, etc., etc all part of a neoliberal position? Each one contradicts both the Wikipedia definition and Harvey’s definition. Is Clinton onboard with abolishing the EPA, or the SEC, or Dept. of Labor?

    Somehow the fact she likes the idea of charter schools trumps all the rest. Frankly, I’ look at public charter schools as more market socialism than privatization, but regardless it’s irrelevant in the totality of the positions she and other Democrats hold.

  66. O’Neill, even if you succeed in convincing me she’s not a neoliberal, that won’t do a thing. You have to convince millions of Americans that she’s not one.

    If you’re arguing that she’s not a neoconservative, I agree. The terminology’s a little tricky because the overall term is also used for the more liberal of the neoliberals.

  67. oneillsinwisconsin–

    You seem to be quite concerned whether Hilary Clinton is a neoliberal. I am more concerned about her status as a war criminal and a mass-murderer. The hundreds of thousands of dead in Libya, Syria, and Iraq because of her work bear silent witness to that question.

  68. Why are we still arguing about Hillary Clinton?

    She’s resting.
    She’s stunned.
    She’s pining for the fjords.
    She is no longer nailed to her perch.

    She is an ex-parrot.

  69. Some dead horses should not only be kicked. They should be staked, beheaded, and have their throats stuffed with garlic.

  70. Will–

    You are, of course, speaking figuratively. At least I hope so. In a just world, Clinton would be tried by the ICC, sentenced to death, and hanged after her appeals processes ran out. But the Deep State is careful to coddle and protect its most loyal servants.

  71. Kragar, well, yeah. If I was a better English major, I would remember the name of the rhetorical device that uses a person or a thing for a concept. In this case, I’m talking about neoliberalism specifically because it’s taken a huge hit this year, but imperialism and capitalism are still strong, of course.

    Oh, and in my just world, she would be tried, stripped of her wealth, and serve a little time in something like an old folks home, then be released on parole to live like any other citizen. It says a great deal about the rich that having to live like the rest of us is their idea of a punishment.

  72. In a fully post capitalism system there would be no private property and so no private wealth factor to strip away. In the process to get from here to there, the private property would have to be converted to public/collective property through one means or another.
    This wouldn’t be punishment, just how things work.

    For any actions that could be considered war crimes, any perpetrator should, of course, be tried. If convicted, in the ICC, the maximum sentence is 30 years. In extreme cases, the Court may impose a term of life imprisonment.

  73. Steve H, just to be clear (I need a JTBC acronym), I meant “stripped of her wealth” to cover either a fully or a partially post capitalist system. Mostly I was indulging my kneejerk tendency to point out that if we win, we don’t need to be vindictive. I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if Robespierre had been held in check.

  74. Will–

    Personification? Anthropmorphism? Allusion? That’s all I got.

    I like your punishment (living as a modestly middle class “nobody”) better for Clinton. To paraphrase Wesley from The Princess Bride: “I want her to live a long life, alone with her cowardice.”

  75. Will:Yes, that’s what I was saying also.
    The world would be very different. For one (trivial) thing, the set of wars France became embroiled in would have been very different and my direct patrilineal great-great grandmother wouldn’t have moved the family out of France after one of her sons was killed at Sevastopol and the odds looked good for the rest getting caught up in other European wars.

  76. ” Whatever the hatred of the present rulers of France for Jacobinism, the fact is that only thanks to the austere labour of Robespierre are they still able to cover their conservative
    rulership with those formulas with the help of which the old society was exploded.”
    From Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution

  77. “If I was a better English major, I would remember the name of the rhetorical device that uses a person or a thing for a concept.”


    I vaguely remember John Barnes talking about it a long time ago, I think it was on the Genie Roundtable.

    “My dog is Loyalty, he is Devotion, he is Friendship, he is Joy, I finally named him Eponym.”

  78. I like your article, it was written thoughtfully and I’m happy to know you’re out there fighting for democractic socialism.

    MILO’s platform is ethnic cleansing. His LED billboard at the event read “Support Women and Homosexuals, Purge Your Local Illegals” and listed ICE’s phone number.

    He wanted to use federal forces to violently detain and deport our communities, so we shut him down by any means necessary. Not all events will look like what happened at Berkley, but it definitely isn’t a bad thing to have some collectives practicing black bloc tactics.

  79. Ander, there are two issues here.

    Are Milo’s views reprehensible? Yes.

    Do you want to promote his views by making him more famous? I would hope not. Yet by denying him the right to speak, you gave him more attention.

    Please note that what seems to have killed his career was not your attempt to silence him, but the attempt by other conservatives to share and denounce his words on sex with young people. The protests in the street only helped him. Free speech ultimately did him in.

  80. Ander: “… it definitely isn’t a bad thing to have some collectives practicing black bloc tactics.” Yes, yes it is. The main reason for that which you should be concerned about is, as Will pointed out, it is counterproductive. The main reason that I am concerned about is that it is violence: indiscriminate, unfocused, fascistic, and in this case, unfounded.

    I hate that I feel obligated to again disclaimer my defense, but here goes: I think Milo is a brash, narcissistic asshole, and apparently he feels that impressionable teenagers can have good sexual experiences with older men. Whether or not this feeling comes from trying to rationalize or control his own victimization, I don’t care, I believe it is abhorrent.

    That being said, ‘Purge your Local Illegals’, while exceedingly nasty and in my view immoral, is not ‘Purge your Local Hispanics’. He is not calling for, nor does his platform include, ethnic cleansing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MSe_h17KZI

    You are supporting violence against people who aren’t even the primary target of your ire, you’re doing so under a misapprehension, and you’re giving more power to his voice to while doing so. YOU are the problem.

  81. No, the people who want to use federal forces to detain and deport my peers are the problem.

    Jesus Christ

  82. They’re both problems and they feed on each other.

    I say, do what you can about both of them. You have more influence on your friends than on your enemies, so that could provide at least some leverage to help avoid making it worse.

    Except that the people on neither of those sides are your friends.

  83. Ander, if you think that, why do you support doing the same things police provocateurs do? Your tactics make the left look like all we want to do is break things for fun and beat up people who say things we don’t like.

  84. All I see is a bunch of well-meaning folks drinking the mainstream media Kool-Aid. I am an anti-fascist organizer. We do “Know Your Rights” education sessions in Spanish and Portugese. We politically organize drug users at the needle-exchange my comrade just opened. I’ve worked with unions and I’ve gone on hunger strike for workers rights. I also have read enough history to know that white nationalists play dirty, and if you have a confrontational march without the tools to protect that march, you and your people will suffer for it. The “Death to the KKK” march in Greensboro that ended in 5 dead protestors and no arrests is the best example of that. If you’re interested I can direct you to dozens of examples (more if I dig a little) of fascists and white nationalists using a material advantage to harm people. From the Kyle Chapman AKA Based Stick Man (a few days ago) being heralded in a video tribute by Trumpenreich, to groups of marching Nazis utilizing shields with razors glued to them to devastate counter-protesters.

    If direct-action against ICE, community defense initiatives, vigilant doxing of armed racists are the actions of police-provocateurs in your book, I guess that’s what I am.

    I was not at Berkley, some things happened there that I wish hadn’t. But I definitely agree with using direct action to shut people who organize for deportation and against abortion down. I just wish these folks had been around at Dillard University when David Duke (who helped organize the Greensboro massacre) spoke.

    When white nationalists control the streets, life becomes insufferable for people who challenge them, and hell for people of color.

    In the Seattle Berkley march a white supremacist shot an unarmed protester and left without charges, but you all are so eager to rip into ‘Antifa’ that you act like we’re the villains. I’m not out breaking my neighbors windows, but if you have a good plan for breaking the windows of a bank that helped finance the DAPL, I might be down.

    Stuff your liberalism down your bootlicking throats

  85. In reply to Nathan S., while he seems to be gracious towards the token POC that side with him, his rhetoric is exceptionally white nationalist.

    “Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization.” by extension BLM activists are terrorists, which justifies and incites Dylan Roof types, as well as less violent racists.

    He speaks in great length about how he opposes Islam, which feeds into rhetoric around banning refugees from Middle-Eastern countries.

    I am certain he wasn’t talking about purging Irish American ‘illegals’, he wants to purge brown people.

    When organizing with UNITE HERE, I’ve seen again and again that corporations will utilize ICE to target undocumented union organizers in their shops. Matthew “Brave Mustache Man” Reed showed up to our Queer/Trans liberation army and filmed us, turning in the names of our undocumented speakers to ICE and bragging about it on 8chan. Deportations are a political weapon that effects my immediate friend-group, but that is also used to gut anti-racist organizing.

    MILO was essentially networking with Berkley campus conservatives to out and ‘purge’ undocumented people, especially leftists. It makes me happy to know that Berkley has communities that can defend themselves in situations like that.

  86. Anders, I’ve been thinking someone must’ve passed a resolution that the first leftist to call the other a liberal wins, because I’ve been noticing that little rhetorical trick being played a lot this year. But I didn’t take part in the vote, so I’m not bound to it.

    You didn’t tell the full story of the Greensboro Massacre, which I’m not blaming you for, but this seems like a good summary for anyone who’s interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greensboro_massacre

    The Klan has been effectively impotent for decades. Saying “white nationalists control the streets” is a fine rallying cry, but it just isn’t true when you’re talking about a few hundred people who want to hear someone speak on a campus. But then it is much easier to go in the street and beat up people than it is to do anything effective about capitalism.

  87. One of my buddies lost 3 friends to skinheads at a concert in San Diego. This was not ‘decades ago’ although it wasn’t the Klan I suppose so I can’t fault you.

    I have gotten death threats from a Nazi punk with some spare capital and a Sig Sauer collection. The Klan isn’t dead, they’re marching in North Carolina, though you’re right most fascist organizing takes other forms.

    Black bloc is one tactic, and it’s only useful in certain circumstances. Community gardens, bike coops, amateur radio stations, SALTing with a union are all great tactics too. And no, it isn’t easier to fight people in the streets. You can get killed or arrested, and thanks to the internet if they get your face they just need to find you online, grab your name, look you up on Spokeo, and hit your home.

  88. I am sorry about your buddies. I don’t mean to imply that those tactics don’t have consequences.

    And I fully agree with this: “Community gardens, bike coops, amateur radio stations, SALTing with a union are all great tactics too.”

  89. Thanks. Good luck living and fighting under capitalism, and I’ll think about your critiques.

    The history of SHARPs in San Diego and elsewhere is interesting to look at if you get some spare time. The ARA Education Packages from the ’90s are a good resource for anti-racist organizing history and anti-capitalist direct actions.

    I remember reading about some Germans who vandalized a series of empty office buildings with chemical weapons. The offices had housed the people who coordinated busses used for deportation. All sorts of radical action by people all around the world



    “. A blue sedan followed by a yellow van parked less than fifty yards away from the protest. The passengers got out, took sidearms and rifles out of the trunk, and opened fire for about a minute and a half. Two CWP members and three march participants were killed by the Klan on that day, which would go down in workers’ history as the Greensboro Massacre.
    The community was horrified, but also partly confused. Despite knowing in advance about the attack, police had taken a lunch break and were nowhere by the scene, raising suspicions as to their intentions. Reeling from the massacre, the group’s leadership fell under heavy criticism, not only from the police and mayor, but also from other radicals. One group called Concerned Citizens wrote the following harsh critique:
    It was utterly stupid and irresponsible for the Workers Viewpoint Organization [CWP] to challenge the Klan and to invite them into the Black community in the way that they did. It was totally irresponsible for them, having dared the Klan to come, to take no effective measures to protect and defend not only themselves, but the community where their demonstration took place. These adventuristic and irresponsible actions not only allowed the murders of their own people to take place but endangered innocent people, including children and old people. Their statements and actions since are almost insane. They seem only interested in avenging the murders of their own people and portraying what happened as a fight between them and the Klan. They have refused to work with anyone to build a broad response by the entire Black community, which is what is urgently needed.”

  90. For what it’s worth, I think antifascist action chapters (in all there flavors) need to be more disciplined and organized. We need better tactics for dealing with media, and for deciding when bloc is/isn’t appropriate.

    It’s also a good thing to see large groups of young people organizing and practicing tactics for militant disruption. It will come in handy when police overstep their bounds, or in areas where the regressive political climate makes things unsafe for some people.

  91. Armed resistance is important.

    Consider the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Without the resistance, all the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto would have been sent to the death camps except perhaps for a few that might escape through the sewers, and the whole ghetto would have been demolished.

  92. Jethomas5: on the one hand, I agree that armed resistance is important. On the other, to be historically accurate, the entire ghetto was demolished and the vast majority of the Jews were killed on the spot or in camps. More Jews probably survived directly or indirectly as a result of the uprising than would have otherwise. It certainly had a great symbolic impact as well. However, you are strongly implying a much better result than actually occurred.

    Certainly, it was much better on many levels for the Uprising to have happened than not have happened. But when you are dealing with a subject of this nature, you cannot just throw out your own vague recollections as “facts,” particularly in support of a nebulous political sentiment.

  93. jethomas, self-defense is important. But you have to be very clear about what’s defense and what’s initiating violence. The civil rights movement would not have succeeded had it not always been clear that the state was in the wrong.

  94. Privateiron, I suppose I should have put in something to say I was being sarcastic.

    I am not at all sure that more Jews survived due to the uprising than would have survived otherwise. Did more Jews escape the ghetto through the sewers etc than would have otherwise? How could we find out which way more would have survived?

    Of course the numbers are not certain, but Wikipedia estimates the ghetto held 300,00 to 400,000 people, and the number killed was around 320,000 to 370,000. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for other approaches to come out worse.

    Also, though, the Germans suffered 100 to 300 casualties, at least 17 of them deaths. And the fighting tied up around 2000 men for a month, who otherwise could have contributed to the German war effort during that time.

    I figure that if you have any chance to win, better to play to your strengths. If you are significantly weaker militarily, try to avoid a fight because it usually doesn’t help you to come in second at violence.

    If like the Polish Jews you’re going to pretty much lose everything no matter what you do, then it doesn’t much matter what you do.

  95. “But you have to be very clear about what’s defense and what’s initiating violence. The civil rights movement would not have succeeded had it not always been clear that the state was in the wrong.”

    Also you desperately need it to be very clear to third parties who care, about what’s defense and what’s initiating violence.

    The civil rights movement would likely have failed if the media had consistently misrepresented them as being violent people who were in the wrong.

  96. I thought the point was that, by the time a demonized group are rounded up and placed in a ghetto, it is too late. Resistence, armed or otherwise, has to be employed at the right time.

    I wonder if Milo’s own friends in the Republican party decided to turn on him and leak the video that brought him down because Milo’s appearances were generating such heat and counter-protests.

  97. Kragar, I very much doubt that was the reason because the protests made the left look like they hate the First Amendment as much as Republicans believe they hate the Second. I think they simply thought Yiannopoulos was a bad symbol for the new conservatism, so they decided to use those videos against him before anyone on the left did.

    Remember that the tactics of left-identitarians scare school administrators. Everyone else treats them as a violent fringe group.

    What scares Republicans are protests against police violence. This is why I keep hoping people will realize #BLM has been ignoring 3/4 of the problem.

  98. Yes. The rebellion inspired organization and resistance in other places. It boosted the general Polish underground’s own resistance as well as its support for Jewish specific movements. 7,000 people deported from the ghetto were instrumental in a mass break out from Treblinka. It probably provided cover for more escapes from the final round up. It inspired several hundred prisoners in a “new” Warsaw ghetto to mount a more successful resistance later in the war. Not being the archivist of alternate time lines, I cannot give you a definitive answer. However, in general, people tend to agree the resistance was the right move, even if it was basically the only “good” move at the time.

    Kragar has a point, but resistance to evil and extinction is rarely completely pointless, regardless of the timing.

  99. Not sure I’m following Will. Protests against police brutality scare the right, so BLM is ignoring 3/4ths of the problem? Last I checked ending police brutality is central to their movement.

    “Remember that the tactics of left-identitarians scare school administrators. Everyone else treats them as a violent fringe group.”

    You seem to act like we’re a violent fringe group, but militant leftist community organizing is more popular in the states than it has been in a while, especially with naloxone giving us a very formidable tool for directly intervening against drug deaths in our communities in a way punitive police forces rarely do.


  100. “I thought the point was that, by the time a demonized group are rounded up and placed in a ghetto, it is too late.”

    In my opinion, by the time a group is successfully demonized, it’s too late. Better to get out ASAP.

    Incidentally, we have around 2 million people of Iranian descent in the USA, many of them first-generation immigrants. Some of them came when the Shah was going after people who wanted democracy. Some of them came when they didn’t get along with the Muslim government etc. It might be approaching time for them to find a new home.

    “7,000 people deported from the ghetto were instrumental in a mass break out from Treblinka.”

    And an estimated 200 of them survived, and 70+ survived to the end of the war. 70 out of 700,000 isn’t a whole lot but it’s something.

    I don’t see anything wrong with what they attempted, but once they were demonized and the majority of the conquered Poles weren’t ready to help them much, nothing they did could amount to much.

  101. Rather than suggest that the Iranian-Americans find a new home, I would suggest that the rest of us be ready to help them.

  102. Doylist, your suggestion is proper. And I say that Iranian-Americans should arrange a backup plan in case that is insufficient.

    A whole lot of them are american citizens. If it comes to the crunch, would that help much?

    Officially there are only around a million of them, some estimates say 1.5 million, because a lot of iranian-americans quite reasonably try not to be noticed. The Iranian government has made the threat that it has sleepers among them who would do major sabotage here if we started a war with Iran. That did not get a lot of press under Obama.

    As we get more climate change we will get more refugees including maybe internal refugees inside the USA, and there will be a tendency for people to try to keep them out because sharing with them results in less to go around among the more fortunate.

  103. For Iranians or Iranian-Americans living in the U.S. right now, the time to resist attempts to demonize them and round them up is now. Thankfully, many U.S. people are indeed doing so in various ways. But it can’t be a single issue progressive silo resistance. It must be understood within the context of the ongoing class war, a war that, for the most part, only the capital class knows is ongoing.

  104. Ander, BLM focuses on black deaths, which ignores 3/4 of police killings, including American Indians, who are more likely to be killed than black folks. BLM ends up serving capitalism by ignoring class entirely—the racial statistics of police killings are identical to the racial statistics for US poverty because the killed are primarily poor. I ran the numbers here: http://shetterly.blogspot.com/2016/09/why-blacklivesmatter-should-be.html

  105. Ander, thanks for the link. The drug war is insane. People talk about not getting flying cars in the 21st century—I’m more amazed that we didn’t get sensible drug regulation, universal health care, some version of socialism or basic income….

Leave a Reply