The Battle for Berkeley Intensifies: Fascists Work With Police to Target Protesters

June 19, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


The fascists are not rallying in the streets of Berkeley right now as they were in April, but they have not backed off their attacks against Berkeley and all it represents. Since February of this year, a series of alt-right mouthpieces—Milo Yiannopoulos, David Horowitz, Ann Coulter—tried to come to the University of California, Berkeley to rally pro-Trump forces and intimidate those who resist the fascist regime. All three of these fascists were prevented from appearing by resistance on the part of thousands. In response to shutting down these fascists, the thugs who support them rallied several times in Berkeley, resulting in physical battles in the park and streets between pro-Trump forces and anti-fascists. Now, in a dangerous development, these same thugs are actively working with the police to identify, arrest, and charge people who they claim opposed them at those rallies.

Eric Clanton, a former Diablo Valley College professor, was arrested on May 24 by Berkeley police and given four serious charges of assault with a deadly weapon flowing out of the protest against the April 15 pro-Trump rally in Berkeley when people confronted the fascists. He is reportedly being held on $100,000 bail. The original bail was $200,000—but the “reduced” bail is still a complete outrage.

These are the only charges brought against anyone for the April 15 rally so far. The Berkeley police say they based the arrest of Clanton on “video evidence” and phone records that they say put him in the area at the time of the rally. While the BPD (Berkeley Police Department) won’t say it, his arrest is very likely the direct and immediate result of, and mainly on the basis of, the efforts of online fascist trolls to target Clanton and escalating demands from other fascists that he be arrested and charged. Not only are these thugs “doxxing” people—digging into their personal information online—they are turning over their “evidence” to the police and demanding arrests and charges.

After the April 15 rally, Clanton was supposedly “identified” through online postings of video of the incident in question, posted pictures of Clanton, supposed (and easily photoshopped) “facial recognition techniques” (even though the fascists claim that whoever was the subject in their pictures was wearing a mask), and posting of personal information, including addresses, etc. The fascist trolls, using 4chan (an online message board used by these vigilantes), then began an online campaign to finger Clanton and demand that the authorities arrest him. This culminated in the Berkeley police searching his home and another address, and then arresting and charging him.

The BPD broadly put out a number for people to call with any further information about Clanton and others who opposed the fascists on April 15. (It is routine practice for the BPD to post pictures online of those they are going after and ask people to identify them, and the fascist trolls are very eager to collaborate with them.)

The fascist media have been quick to trumpet the arrest of Clanton and the work of trolls on 4chan/pol (a political board on 4chan used by white supremacists/fascists). The Breitbart and Oath Keepers websites are among those that have posted articles or videos about the arrest, congratulating the 4chan fascists and calling for more attacks. The fascist vigilante group Oath Keepers' article even included a photo of the BPD inmate custody form for Clanton after his arrest and congratulated 4chan/pol.

According to the website It’s Going Down, which describes itself as “a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements,” two banners were dropped the night of May 28 at UC Berkeley. The banners said, “Stop Online Vigilantes” and “Drop Charges Against Eric Clanton.” The website said, “Eric Clanton is a victim of a new era of kangaroo courts and government repression fueled by Alt-Right trolls. It is time, now more than ever, to dig in our heels and refuse any small appeasement.” Further, it said, “We plead for comrades and allies to do what they can, as often and as many times as they can to fight the fascist creep and show solidarity with Eric Clanton. Drop a banner. Decorate empty walls with messages of love and support. Let the Alt-Right trolls know that in real life there is no safe space for racism and hate speech.”

Clanton’s lawyer, Dan Siegel, a progressive attorney who is a veteran of the 1960s Stop the Draft Week and People’s Park battles in Berkeley, is himself being targeted by the fascist trolls. They have confronted him outside court, taped everything he said, and say they are digging into his past. Siegel says they are following him and making threats against his life.

“Safe Streets Project”

In a related and dangerous development, the Oath Keepers are unleashing their followers to take up this same kind of attack on those who resist the fascist regime. Under the headline “How to Safely Catch Violent Antifa Terrorists on Your Streets,” the Oath Keepers website displays large promotional photos and links to something called the “Safe Streets Project,” which the Oath Keepers are promoting. The size and extent of this “project” are not clear at this time. Saying they’re “Taking Back Free Speech,” this organization is trying to set up a nationwide network and apparatus to gather information on protesters and turn them in to the police, just as happened to Eric Clanton. The website calls on followers across the country to use their smartphones to provide “critical intelligence to the teams working to unmask, identify, and ensure the rendition of Antifa and Black Bloc terrorists to law enforcement. Simply take photos, record videos and capture audio discussions.” The site claims it has a “technology engine that allows individuals to quickly, securely, and privately identify and flag violent street rioters for prosecution.”

Part of the announced plans of this Safe Streets Project is to get their forces and followers to replace anti-fascist posters with a declaration of theirs. Their aim is to try to infuriate and intimidate anti-fascist forces, and to dare them to take down the posted declarations. Their idea is to then film people doing this in order to get pictures of them and possibly other information that can be used against them.

The Safe Streets Project claims that it is in touch with other fascist organizations such as Proud Boys and the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights. It aims to silence anyone opposing the fascist regime—and turn them in to police if they do. It is part of the moves to consolidate fascism. They will not stop until they have destroyed all opposition—or until they are driven out of power. All such efforts by the fascists must be exposed and opposed as part of defeating them.


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