Against the backdrop of white supremacists making the city of Berkeley, Calif., their ongoing target in their campaign to confuse hate speech with free speech, community activists held a celebration of solidarity on Saturday, Sept. 23, in Berkeley, themed “No Hate in the Bay, March Against White Supremacy.” Several hundred people rallied and marched over 2 miles through the city, stopping at several points which have become targets of right-wing harassment because of things like posting Black Lives Matter signs or simply being centers for LGBTQ activism, etc.
A surprise speaker was Chelsea Manning, who said: “Everyone told me I should be too scared to come. That’s why I came to be with you.” A speaker from the Arab Resource and Organizing Center and the General Union of Palestinian Students talked about harassment against her on campus by David Horowitz and other Zionists. Cat Brooks of the Anti Police-Terror Project said: “We don’t cower in the face of fascists and police. We’re linking up with resistance in every state.”
Chris Oakes of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma stated, “If you fight against racism and fascism, you should also fight against colonialism and for Ohlone rights.” A speaker from Anakbayan East Bay talked about the need for international solidarity, pointing out, “There’s martial law in the Philippines right now and Muslims and Indigenous people are under attack.” A speaker from Urban Shield pointed out that Berkeley is talking about “gang classification for Antifa, while right-wing Oath Keepers are allowed to have a booth at the Urban Shield expo.”
A representative of the White Horse Inn, which serves the LGBTQ community, said they have been under right-wing attack, as did a speaker from the Alchemy Collective, who had windows smashed for having a Black Lives Matter sign in their coffee shop window. Cheryl Davila, a Berkeley City Council member, spoke against the militarization of police, saying “No to Nazis and no to the alt-right.”
On Sunday, Sept. 24, the Berkeley Police Department arrested 11 people in connection with demonstrations related to a 20-minute appearance by fascist Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California at Berkeley campus. Most were arrested related to new bans by the city against wearing masks and carrying anything which could be construed as a weapon. More demonstrations are planned Sept. 25, as the right-wing “Free Speech Week” continues.
(WW photo: Terri Kay)