Violence Helped Ensure Safety of Students

Juan Prieto, The Daily Californian, February 7, 2017

A national debate on freedom of speech has sparked since the night of Feb. 1, when a Breitbart hatemonger’s speech was cancelled because of radical acts against replaceable property at my school, UC Berkeley.

Most of the arguments across the nation attempt to have a conversation on freedom of speech on college campuses.

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Arguments on campus, on the other hand, revolve around students defying the acts the AntiFas  —  an anarchist and anti-fascist group that uses black bloc techniques to meet its ends  —  took that night. They want to ensure that there is a distinction between the rioters and the students who were there to protest peacefully.

Well, I’m here to thank the radical measures the AntiFas took to ensure my safety. It has been reported by numerous sources that Breitbart’s mascot planned on launching a campaign against undocumented students and sanctuary campuses.

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As an outspoken undocumented student at UC Berkeley, this frightened me. I walked around campus constantly looking over my shoulder that day, uncertain whether the doxing of my online profile had already placed a target on me.

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To me, the argument should not revolve just around freedom of speech but also around the hate speech that fails to respect the humanity of undocumented people. This speaker has never provided an insightful look at conservatism nor provided intellectual debate to the arena. He has fabricated a tool to sensationalize himself with while providing a platform for white supremacists to come together. He, in fact, wanted to use the power of the state (immigration officers) to deport some of the most outspoken of us, therefore threatening our freedom of speech with the power of the state.

My campus did nothing to stand between my undocumented community and the hateful hands of radicalized white men — the AntiFas did. A peaceful protest was not going to cancel that event, just like numerous letters from faculty, staff, Free Speech Movement veterans and even donors did not cancel the event. Only the destruction of glass and shooting of fireworks did that. The so-called “violence” against private property that the media seems so concerned with stopped white supremacy from organizing itself against my community.

Everything else was an act of passive acceptance to the hate speech that was about to take place on our campus.

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