The New York Times special Education section Sunday soft-pedaled the authoritarian left-wing movements afoot on many college campuses, including the violence black-bloc "anti-fascist" movement Antifa.
First, Laura Pappano’s solid if slightly muddled piece on left-wing campus intolerance of dissenting views appeared under a euphemistic headline: “Where ‘Everything Is Under Attack’ -- Students are demanding more control over faculty, curriculums and their own identities.”
Well, if the term “demanding more control” means stopping conservatives from speaking on campus, harassing professors, and shutting the school down for security reasons, then yes, today’s left-wing students (and their fellow travelers in the violent “anti-fascist” movement Antifa) are “demanding more control.”
Pappano rounded up disturbing and relevant incidents of campus thuggery, albeit stuffed with verbal padding:
By then, students were already well practiced in making their demands known.
A few weeks earlier, at Claremont McKenna, so many had protested the appearance of Heather Mac Donald, a Black Lives Matter critic, that she ended up addressing a mostly empty hall while the event was live-streamed. Several black students then wrote David W. Oxtoby, Pomona’s outgoing president, demanding an apology for the “patronizing” email he sent on academic freedom in response to the Mac Donald protest and asking what “steps the institution will take and the resources it will allocate” for “marginalized students.” They also ordered action against student journalists at the conservative Claremont Independent “for its continual perpetuation of hate speech, anti-Blackness, and intimidation toward students of marginalized backgrounds.”
The previous month, a call-out painted in looping yellow letters on a Pitzer College “free speech wall” against cultural appropriation -- “White Girl, Take OFF your hoops!!!” -- had escalated into widespread criticism of the wall painters.
As student demands have grown more politically charged, the divisions on campus have sharpened. At Pomona, Ms. Vides noted “a radicalizing of both ends of the spectrum.” Students have been pushed from the middle path to the left or right. Last fall’s entering class was the most polarized cohort in the 51-year history of the freshman survey by the Higher Education Research Institute.
Actually, it’s invariably left attacking right on campus:
That can play out in every aspect of student life, as William Gu, an Asian-American who writes for The Claremont Independent, found out after some of his articles showed up on conservative news sites. He received Facebook messages accusing him of “threatening marginalized communities” and was told at a party that “people are uncomfortable with you being here, please leave.”
Mr. Gu, a sophomore, said each incoming class “is getting progressively more radical.” He recalled a panel discussion during orientation at which a student said, “We should burn down Pomona” because “elite colleges represented white supremacist patriarchy.”....
Meanwhile, the violent “anti-fascist” movement Antifa got some sympathetic coverage from Andrew Beale and Sonner Kehrt in “The Semester of Hate -- When far right meets far left, sparks fly.”
Last semester’s protests at the University of California, Berkeley, challenged liberal presumptions about who exactly the good guys were. Anti-fascists, or Antifa, clad like ninjas and hellbent on silencing a speaker (the provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos), smashed windows and set fires. Clashes with right-wingers erupted again at rallies in March and April in support of free speech (a “messy pepper spray mosh pit,” as one anti-fascist described it).
The Antifa collective, fueled by an emboldened right wing, has become a growing subculture, particularly on West Coast campuses. Fearful of being doxxed (having your personal information posted online) by “alt-right trolls,” anti-fascists are cautious about their identity. Most don’t even communicate over social media or phone. And many protest as a black bloc, a tactic ascribed to 1980s Germany in which a group protests anonymously, faces concealed by T-shirts, bandannas or masks to avoid detection and protect from pepper spray.
The reporters tried to break the harmful violent Antifa stereotype:
Black bloc is often seen as mostly white males looking to wreak havoc for their cause. A half-dozen Berkeley Antifa members who agreed to speak on record to us saw merit in that stereotype, but since the Trump inauguration, they said, those behind the masks represent the spectrum of gender and race. “People showing up to the protests are the ones with the most to lose,” said Neil Lawrence, a Berkeley student. Part of his decision to go public as a transgender anti-fascist is to counteract the stereotype.
Lawrence of Antifa bravely posed for a photo with his face covered above this quote: “When the nonviolent tactics have been exhausted -- what is left?” (Break some windows and punch Trump fans, apparently.)
The night before the April 15 Patriots’ Day protest, Mr. Lawrence stayed up most of the night making sandwiches. Before he headed out to meet up with other anti-fascists, he grabbed a box of matzos, too -- it was Passover. The Antifa wanted to show up en masse to demonstrate opposition at an alt-right free-speech rally....
Mr. Lawrence allowed his full name to be used to bolster his credibility in explaining a movement he believes is misrepresented in the media. In particular, he wants his experiences as a trans student to illustrate its increasing diversity. “That is who the hammer falls on,” he said. “That’s whose existence in public is being criminalized in so many state legislatures right now. I never felt like a target walking down the street until the climate shifted so radically in the age of Trump.”
After profiling the sandwich-making masked Antifa radical, the Times also talked to Antifa’s “Dan,” who also appeared masked. Reading Karl Marx and Noam Chomsky wasn’t fulfilling, so he decided to get active.
Dan said he supports the right of conservatives to speak on campus, but fascism must be stopped -- by violence, if necessary. “We’ve seen in history that the very fact that we allow certain people to talk normalizes their speech, and there’s the possibility of their narrative being accepted and even being widespread in the society.”
Evidently, both conservative provocateur Yiannopoulos and mainstream conservative Ben Shapiro are persona non grata on campus:
He predicts more violence for the new school year. Mr. Yiannopoulos has announced a weeklong tent city on Sproul Plaza this fall, vowing in a Facebook post to “bring an army if I have to.” And the conservative commentator Ben Shapiro plans to speak in September.
It’s revealing of the Times tilt that the only person they quote who owns up to initiating violence just happens to be a far-right activist:
In prison on a four-year sentence for armed robbery, [Identity Evropa founder Nathan Damigo] began reading, taking a particular interest in race. His reading list included “White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century” by Jared Taylor and “The Bell Curve,” whose co-author Charles Murray was prevented from speaking at Middlebury College earlier this year. “And yes, I read David Duke, if you want to throw that in there.”....(The Times certainly does.)