Sunsara Taylor intervenes in UC Berkeley press conference:
"The issue isn’t Free speech, it’s fascism."

September 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


A Head-Spinning Day:
Fascists “Free Speech” week called off, the Battle Far from over –
Sunsara Taylor intervenes in University press conference “The issue isn’t Free speech, it’s fascism."

Saturday, Sept. 23, UC Berkeley, California.  The specter of a cavalcade of racist, misogynyst, xenophobic fascists descending on the UC campus, spewing their poison and unleashing on the ground and online vitriol and attacks, has had the whole campus in a state of turmoil.  Every day there was a new announcement about whether the fascists sponsored by the Berkeley Patriot and Milo Yiannapolous were going to appear or not, with the University administration twisting itself into pretzels to accommodate these fascist pigs.  Meanwhile, professors, the Ethnic Studies Department, the Associated Students, the Daily Cal editorial board, and many others were voicing opposition of one sort or another.

Then today major news broke.  The student group the Berkeley Patriot formally announced their plans for Free “Speech” Week had collapsed.  Then Milo Yiannapolous, conducted a Facebook press conference with two other fascists – the anti-Muslim bigot Pamela Geller and Mike Cernovich of Infowars – in which he swore that he would march on Sproul Plaza Sunday at noon with or without campus sponsorship.  He also continued to play “victim” with his claims that the universities are hostile to “conservative” speech, when the reality is that the campus bent over backwards to accommodate him.  And he swore to continue his crusade to make a home for “conservatives” – aka white supremacists, bigots and fascists – on campuses everywhere.

Meanwhile, several hundred people, including courageous whistleblower Chelsea Manning, marched against hate, from downtown Oakland to the Berkeley campus.  The high point of the protest was Chelsea describing what happened to her at Harvard: amidst all this talk about “free speech,” it was the CIA that decided she should not speak as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard, a demand this supposedly esteemed bastion of learning caved in to by rescinding her fellowship.  (See “Under Pressure from the Trump/Pence Regime, Harvard Cancels Chelsea Manning’s Fellowship,” at

Refuse Fascism was in the mix, spreading the word about the need to be out at Sproul at 10 am the next day to preempt Milo’s plans and building for the November 4th protests to drive the whole regime from power.  Around 3:30, a group of them left for a hastily called press conference called by the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of the University to defend themselves against the fascists’ charge that they hadn’t bent over far enough backward.

Their craven performance was quickly and dramatically interrupted by Sunsara Taylor, a writer for and one of the co-initiators of Refuse Fascism.  She completely took over the press conference, in front of dozens of cameras from all the major media who’ve been covering this high stakes showdown between a major university and a frontal fascist assault with implications for the whole country.  For over ten minutes, as the UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof and Berkeley head of police Margo Bennett sat silently, often looking down, Taylor denounced the university’s collaboration with fascism, insisted that the issue was not “free speech” but the imposition of fascism, refuted the lies told by Chancellor Christ about the legacy of the Free Speech Movement, and called on everyone to stand up against Milo tomorrow and to join in driving out the Trump/Pence Regime starting November 4th across the country.

Taylor invited questions from the press and continued to intervene between the answers being given by Mogulof and Bennett, until they got up to leave at which point she chastised them for “hiding” and followed them into the hall.  After a while, they attempted to restart their press conference, telling the media they would go back into the room only to find Taylor seated at their table inviting more questions from the press.  Finally, they left.  Clips of this were replayed on the evening television news.

The failure of the fascists to carry out the kind of ideological blitzkreig they had planned – due at least in part to the growing opposition of the people, including the protest of 1,500 people against Ben Shapiro that Refuse Fascism led last Thursday, is an important victory.  Refuse Fascism along with other groups are planning to be out at Sproul on Sunday to protest and confront the Milo-led fascists, and understand full well that this battle is far from over, and that it underscores the urgency of driving this whole fascist regime from power.



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