By: Dylan Brennan, Columnist
Antifa is a group that has become the Frankenstein monster of colleges and universities, roaming and destroying everything in its path the past year and a half since its breakout show at the Milo Yiannopoulos guest speaking event at UC Berkeley last winter. If you are unaware of Antifa, they are a group of anti-fascists who have destroyed property and used physical force to fight fascism. Their trademarks are covered faces and black flags. Their acts have been officially branded as “domestic terrorist violence” by the Department of Homeland Security, in the same boat as the white supremacists and fascists they claim to fight.
These people can and have ranged from young voters to professors. Eric Clanton, a former Diablo Valley College professor, was charged with four counts of assault with a deadly weapon towards a mediator trying to calm tensions. Michael Isaacson, an adjunct professor who taught at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, tweeted “It is a privilege to teach the future dead cops of America.” He is now on suspension pending investigation.
However, I would like to congratulate everyone for finally standing up to these petty thugs. This month has been a great step towards nulling radicalization, and a step further towards mediating this political polarization. Many people saw these people as the “good guys” for standing up to neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates. People are now seeing that they don’t wish to balance the scales, but tip them as far to whichever side they want.
September started out with the official “acts of domestic terrorist violence” label, which is a great step towards stopping political violence. Then, the speech at UC Berkeley with Ben Shapiro, which Antifa wanted to be stopped, resulted in heavy police activity preventing further violence and destruction seen there many months ago. Very recently, there was the incident on the campus of Georgia Tech with a student who seemingly committed suicide by calling the cops to the area and approaching them with a weapon. As tragic as this is, and as much as I, as well as many, would’ve wished to see a non-lethal method be used, Antifa reared its ugly head to hijack any sort of debate or reflection on police force, and instead used it as an excuse to damage police cruisers and assault. Thankfully, police arrested the main agitators, and the rest devolved from violent rioters to yelling malcontents.
However, just because battles have been won against Antifa, do not think the war is over. The cost for security at Ben Shapiro’s event was over half a million dollars for him alone. On Saturday, the student group that had planned “Free Speech Week” cancelled the event (Editor’s note: due to the “actions of the university,” the Washington Post reports based on a letter from the group’s attorney.) Money can stave off the problem, but we must invest in tolerance over security if we are to fix this.
We cannot remain silent on this issue as a college in America. We must not allow our vitriol and political emotions to overcome us and cause us to do harm. Dressing up in all black, covering your face and hurting people only makes your side look like the bad guys. If we are to stop the hateful ideologies of the far and alt right, we cannot allow people to delve into the far and alt left to commit the same crimes and preach similar rhetoric. Drowning darkness out with darkness isn’t the way. Let us be a beacon of light to cast off the cloak of hate.