Berkeley Rally Against White Supremacy
“Defend Our Campus, Reclaim Free Speech”
We are students, workers, and members of the UC Berkeley campus community, the City of Berkeley, and the larger Bay Area. We are immigrants, people of color, religious minorities, queer and trans people, liberals, leftists and others. We think it’s time to come together in a united front, celebrate our differences in solidarity, and speak out against the hateful currents in American politics while affirming our vision of a free, inclusive, and equitable society.
Since the 2016 election, white supremacists have been coming to Berkeley to intimidate, harass, and incite violence against us. This time, the UC Berkeley administration is set to spend hundreds of thousands of public education dollars and heavily militarize the campus to ensure that Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, and Stephen Bannon speak at our university from September 24-27. We believe these speakers and their supporters are dangerous to our community. They support deportations of our undocumented friends and family and are leading figures of the white supremacist movement. They uphold the structures of power that violently police the speech and democratic rights of workers and oppressed people around the world.
But we will not be silenced or intimidated. The massive demonstrations of August 19 in Boston and August 26-27 in the Bay Area proved that when we come together, we can protect our communities and politically defeat the bigots. In that spirit, we are meeting on Crescent Lawn—away from the police militarization and the hateful provocateurs on the other side of campus—to reject white supremacy, speak to each other about the world we want, and reclaim our campus, our city, and our democratic rights Join us, bring signs, bring friends!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 24, 2017
Berkeley Rally Against White Supremacy will go on as planned on Monday, September 25th at UC Berkeley’s Crescent Lawn despite cancellation of right-wing events
CONTACT: United Against Right Wing Violence Media Committee
Despite the Berkeley Patriot group’s announcement that it has cancelled so-called “Free Speech Week” events at UC Berkeley, the Unite Against Right Wing Violence coalition reaffirms that the Berkeley Rally Against White Supremacy—scheduled for Monday, September 25 at 12pm on the West Crescent Lawn of the UC Berkeley campus—will move forward as planned. Although the rally was organized in response to the series of neo-fascist and white supremacist events that were set to take place as part of so-called “Free Speech Week” (which we refer to as Fascist Violence Week), we believe it is as important as ever to come together in community and speak out against the hateful currents in American politics, while affirming our vision of a free, inclusive, and equitable society.
As our coalition has repeatedly explained
, the events planned by Milo Yiannopoulos and the Berkeley Patriot for next week were never about free speech and civil rights
. Rather, they were the latest in a series of far-right provocations intended to galvanize a neo-fascist, white supremacist base. The aim of these events is to target politically progressive communities, incite violence, and create a media frenzy under the cynical cover of free speech. Unfortunately, the UC Berkeley administration has repeatedly played along with this circus by uncritically accepting and reproducing the Alt-right’s perversion of free speech and trivializing the physical threat posed by alt-right speakers and their supporters.
Much of this alt-right violence and intimidation occurs out of the public eye and the arena of the speaking event itself. Over the last few days, members of our campus community have been doxxed and harassed
, and roving gangs of Proud Boys and other far-right groups have been inundating our campus with white nationalist propaganda, hate posters targeting faculty
, and direct provocation and harassment of students – which often remain unreported due to fears of escalating retaliation.
The cancellation of Fascist Violence Week is a victory in our struggle to protect our communities from harassment and violence. However, as we have learned from previously cancelled Alt-right events, it is quite likely that the white supremacists and provocateurs who have already been sighted in town
will continue their targeted terror campaign on our campus in dispersed and unpredictable ways from Sept 24-27. We also continue the work of organizing and defending our community because we know that we are not alone in this embattled situation: We stand in solidarity with hundreds of campuses across the nation
that are enduring similar threats and hate campaigns from a white supremacist movement emboldened by the Trump administration. As the fall semester goes into full swing, numerous reports of escalating hate incidents
on campuses – including a violent attack on a Cornell University student of color
, and death threats made to the La Raza student club at Cal State Long Beach – have heightened efforts to cancel upcoming alt-right speaking events at Cal State Fullerton
and the University of Michigan, among others.
We will not be silenced or intimidated by the racist right, and refuse to concede any ground in their attempt to legitimize fascist ideology and strengthen its influence on US politics. We urge major media and educational institutions to recognize how these groups manipulate “free speech” as a weapon
to silence dissent and hold our society hostage. By playing victims for the media with one hand, and terrorizing campus communities with the other, they employ classic fascist strategies that aim, as Vice President Henry Wallace warned in 1944
, “to poison the channels of public information…and deceive the public into giving fascists more money and power.”
As our experience in the wake of the terror attacks in Charlottesville has shown, our best and only defense against far right violence is to build and deepen our ties of solidarity with every human being whose life and well-being is at stake. The massive demonstrations of August 19 in Boston and August 26-27 in the Bay Area proved that when we come together in solidarity, we can protect ourselves and defeat the forces of bigotry and hate. For these reasons—and because we believe it is essential to amplify the hitherto silenced voices of our communities as a counterpoint to right wing violence and police militarization—we will hold our rally on Sept 25 and reclaim our campus, our city, and our democratic rights.
We invite our larger Berkeley and Bay Area community to join us on Crescent Lawn Sept 25-27 for Our Free Speech Week: United Against Hate
, an unprecedented 3-day outpouring of diverse speakers, artistic expressions
, and solidarity in Cal Antifascist pride
(see preliminary program attached). A substantial media presence will help ensure our protection at these events. We also invite members of the media to speak with students, faculty, and community members at these events, and hear from Berkeley voices that have not been heard in the sensationalist noise generated by Milo and the alt-right’s fake news machine.
Unite Against Right Wing Violence in the Bay Area
SCHEDULE OF CAMPUS EVENTS IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE BERKELEY RALLY AGAINST WHITE SUPREMACY
Monday 9/25, West Crescent Lawn
12-2: Berkeley Rally Against White Supremacy
5-7: Teach-ins hosted by the Forestry Club, SOGA, PALs, Speak Out Now
Tuesday 9/26, West Crescent Lawn
11-12: Free Speech Alumni
12-1 Professor Kammen, author of the notorious IMPEACH letter
4-5: Talk from Dean Chemerinsky of Berkeley Law
5-6: Talk from Robert Reich
Wednesday 9/27, West Crescent Lawn
12-1: teach-in by Professor Marshall, director of the Legal Studies Department
5-6: Talk from Abdi Soltani of ACLU Northern California
6-7: Community performances and spoken word with Cal Slam
All are welcome to join the Haas Christian Fellowship to pray for love to permeate our campus, and our country, meeting at 12-1 on 9/25, 9/26, 9/28, and 8-9am on 9/27 in Haas F449.
Mathematicians for Equality
will offer a Critical Thinking Space each day 9/25-27 during the times 11-2 and 4-6.
Here, in between speeches, you are invited to practice problem solving in community. Bring your math problems or anything else that you would like to apply critical thinking to, and look for this banner in the south-west corner of Crescent Lawn: