The right won’t intimidate us
The Berkeley branch of the International Socialist Organization documents an attempt by members of several far-right organizations to disrupt a campus meeting.
"HEATHER HEYER died of a heart attack."
Those are the words of a team of far-right, livestreaming provocateurs who attempted to disrupt a meeting of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) on September 7 at 8 p.m. (See this video at the 39:20 mark.) The ISO was holding a club meeting in a reserved classroom in Dwinelle Hall on UC-Berkeley's campus.
The right-wing website Campus Reform, which specializes in smear campaigns against progressive scholars, published an article denouncing a different left-wing organization's meeting in Berkeley to organize against Milo Yiannopoulos and other far-right provocateurs on campus. Campus Reform's followers planned to disrupt this meeting, and two groups took the lead. (See this video at the 28:06 mark, discussing the Campus Reform article.) The first is the Red Elephants, a right wing media group that distributes doctored videos to justify far-right violence. They also interview and promote white supremacists like Nathan Damigo and Jason Kessler. The second group is Liberty Hangout, a libertarian media group whose followers believe that white genocide is real.
This team of right-wing groups tried and failed to find the meeting of the other left-wing organization, which they planned to "infiltrate." (See this video at the 28:06 mark.) They wandered around campus and eventually found the ISO's meeting, which was unpublicized. (See this video at the 40:26 mark.) A member of their team, whose student group has invited Yiannopoulos back to UC-Berkeley, came into our meeting. (See this video at the 40:47 mark. The person in question is sitting down in the plaid shirt.) He repeatedly lied, identifying himself as an unaffiliated student, and attempted to gather information about the identities of ISO members. (See this video at the 10:45 mark, discussing this member gathering "intel.")
THE OTHER members of the right-wing team, livestreaming and wearing racist clothes, were turned away at the door due to their obvious goal of provocation. (See this video at the 6:45 mark, discussing their attire of "Border Patrol" and "America First" clothes.) They attempted to force their way into the meeting, threatened to call the police, and then accused the ISO of being fascists and terrorists. (See this video at the 1:20, 1:30, and 2:27 marks; see this video at the 5:20 mark.) They denied the neo-Nazi murder of Heather Heyer by claiming she died of a heart attack. (See this video at the 39:20 mark.) The right-wing team continued livestreaming our members despite repeated statements that we did not consent to be recorded. (See this video at the 4:18 mark.) They refused to clear the area outside the classroom's door so our members could safely leave, even after requested to do so by a university worker. (See this video at the 4:53 mark; see this video at the 9:00 mark.) After trying and failing for half an hour to disrupt the ISO's meeting, the right-wing team retreated.
The ISO has been at the forefront of the fightback against the far right in the Berkeley. We helped organize the thousands-strong protests against Donald Trump on January 20, Milo Yiannopoulos on February 1 and white supremacists on August 27. We will not cower in the face of provocateurs. Unlike the Nazi apologists who tried and failed to disrupt our meeting, the ISO stands in solidarity with the family of Heather Heyer and the movement she fought for. We must all be anti-fascists now.
First published at Berkeleyside.com.