From Northern California Anti-Racist Action (NoCARA)

The Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) have invited Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at UC Berkeley [1] as a stop on his so-called “Dangerous Faggot Tour” on February 1st, 2017. Milo has gained a fair amount of infamy in recent years, currently has a lucrative book deal, and writes for the far-Right online publication Breitbart, whose former editor, Steve Bannon, is now currently Trump’s top advisor. Bannon has said that Breitbart is a “platform for the Alt-Right,” which is a collection of far-Right, white nationalist, Men’s Rights Activists, anti-immigration and anti-Muslim activists, and Neo-Nazis. While Bannon distances himself from some of the Alt-Right, his appointment has still been celebrated by fascists all over the US.

As for Milo, no other person has been more credited for mainstreaming the Alt-Right as himself. Milo first rose to prominence during ‘Gamergate,’ where women in the video game industry were harassed for speaking out about their second class status in the industry, which included threats of rape and sexual assault. Milo’s positive coverage of Gamergate (which won him the eye of the Alt-Right) and his attacks on feminism propelled him into his position at Breitbart, where he would go on to pen a positive expose on the Alt-Right, regarded as one of the major crossover points for the movement.

Milo’s connections to the Alt-Right continued. During the RNC convention in 2016, at Milo’s ‘Gays for Trump‘ event, along with hosting anti-Muslim speakers such as Pamela Geller, who called for banning the Quran and Muslims from “jihad countries,” was also well known Men’s Rights Activists and white nationalists. This included Roosh V, (also a speaker at white nationalist conferences), who called for the legalization of rape on private property, as well as Richard Spencer, the white supremacist who organized a recent DC conference that ended in Nazi salutes of “Hail Trump!”

While Milo rejects the full on Neo-Nazism of some of the Alt-Right, he still is partial to the politics which seek to re-affirm white supremacy and patriarchy and is opposed to what he see as the encroaching nature of ‘political correctness’ in the media and wider culture. Moreover, Milo is also useful to the far-Right because as an openly gay man and a hip dresser, he is seen as someone who can make reactionary and racist ideas more palatable to young people.

But just as Milo is helping to mainstream the Alt-Right in the media and the wider culture, so are groups like BCR in the field of political activism. In the current Trump climate, they are also helping to bridge the gap between white nationalists in the Alt-Right and more mainstream Trump supporters. This is a reality that has been building for months and is growing across the country, as it was just released that in Seattle, the leader of the college Republicans at UW has connections to white nationalists. Going back to May of 2016, when Identity Evropa along with Richard Spencer came to UC Berkeley to hold an event, the leader of BCR, at the time, was in attendance, talking with IE and NPI members. This crossover link between Trump supporters on campus and white supremacists groups like IE has only grown since, with the leader of IE, Nathan Damigo, stating that they are working more closely with college Republican groups in an attempt to grow their base of support. [2]

Taking on the Trump regime, the white nationalist groups which are acting as an auxiliary force to support it, and media figureheads like Milo who are attempting to popularize these positions among young people, now also means taking on the more ‘mainstream’ political organizations which are becoming more tied together with the fringe. In some cases, the are all bleeding together to the point of being the same entity.

In that spirit, this article is aimed at informing the university and greater Berkeley and Bay Area community about the white supremacist and fascist students using the guise of “free speech” to encourage hate and violence against those already marginalized and oppressed. As we will show, the line between white nationalists and run of the mill Republican student activists in Berkeley is blurring, and it is up to those opposed to white supremacy and patriarchy to take note, and to take action.

Berkeley College Republicans and the Alt-Right

In December, a call-in campaign was started urging anti-fascists and allies to contact the university and demand that the administration not open their doors to Yiannopoulos. Since then, we’ve learned that BCR will have to put up $10,000 to fund the security that the school deems necessary for such an event to continue as planned. At this point, it’s unclear whether the club will be able to find the money or not. This also isn’t the first time a university has asked for an extra security fee from students inviting Milo to their schools, and while some clubs haven’t been able to pay and thus had to cancel the talk, others have succeeded. In fact, we know of at least one instance at DePaul University where Breitbart paid the cost themselves in order to have Yiannopoulos speak.

Will the Berkeley College Republicans be able to find the money to continue their event? How will they raise $10,000, and from who? And exactly who are these students that have invited Yiannopoulos to Berkeley to speak in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union building, which houses the Pauley Ballroom?

Let’s find out.

Nick Winterer

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/enndubyu

We first became aware of Nick when he made Facebook comments in fall 2016 that included veiled threats of violence against people concerned about homophobic messages appearing on and around the UC Berkeley campus. Unfortunately, we were unable to get screenshots of Nick’s comments at the time, and a moderator of the Facebook group it was posted to has since deleted the thread. On the other hand, we were able to get this photo that Nick uploaded to his Facebook profile, which he has also deleted or made private by now, perhaps realizing that making your ID a public photo on social media is not a good idea.

13482805_10210137173164895_729201578776701446_oThis is Nick.  Looks familiar, right?  We thought so too.

Nick showed up to Sproul Plaza on May 6, 2016 for Identity Evropa’s coming out rally at UC Berkeley featuring well-known fascists Nathan Damigo (who runs IE) and Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute. The rally saw a handful of other Identity Evropa members and neo-nazi supporters show up as well[Note: Nick claims in this article his is not pictured below.]

nw_ucbNick is in the center of the photo, behind Nathan Damigo and next to John Hess

Some people pictured at the “rally” did in fact have nothing to do with it. Some were simply curious about what was going on as they were walking through the plaza. However, if you were there, it was clear who was on the Alt-Right team. In the above photo, you can see Nick standing behind Nathan Damigo of IE and next to John Hess, a neo-nazi who came all the way to UC Berkeley from Arizona for this event. Nick’s congregating with white supremacist leaders and “activists” at their rally coupled with his threats of violence supporting homophobic messages around campus leaves us feeling certain he didn’t show up to that rally on accident.

Richard Spencer advertised the event online only 48 hours in advance because the fascists feared that giving too much notice to antifa would ruin their fun. Spencer would later become well-known to many more people after the Atlantic leaked a video from NPI’s post-election conference featuring supporters giving the nazi salute at the end of Spencer’s closing speech.

According to Nick’s Facebook profile, he appears to have graduated from the university in 2016 but still lives in Berkeley. Nick’s profile also indicates he is friends with members of BCR, including Alexandra Tran, a member of another group, Cal Libertarians who is one of the people “hosting” Milo event page on Facebook along with BCR club president Jose Diaz. The homophobic messages seen around Berkeley written in chalk [3], and now sometimes spraypaint as of January 2017, that Nick defended with threats of violence are an example of how messages and ideas like this aren’t just words.

Matt Ronnau

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/matt.ronnau

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mr_breitbartMatt, another UC Berkeley student and member of BCR, can be seen in a video featured in this Breitbart News article published in October 2016. Together, the video and article try to reframe the narrative of a day of protest on campus in attempt to confirm and validate the false assertion of white victimhood widespread in Alt-Right circles, which is then used to justify the violent white supremacist and fascist backlash they wish to unleash. Following the publication of the Breitbart piece and a wave of white anger directed at the school, a UC Berkeley student wrote this article debunking the white victim narrative that was being spread by the far right.

Jack Palkovic

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/jack.palkovic

Email: jackpalkovic@berkeley.edu

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Jack is a member of BCR and studies European History at UC Berkeley. A quick look at his social media provides a clear indication of his far-right politics. Jack gained some notoriety when Breitbart published an article that featured a video he filmed while arguing with anti-Trump students on campus. Viewers can hear Jack whining in the video about his politics not being tolerated. BCR’s cardboard cutout of Trump was destroyed, and Jack allegedly got punched in the face following that incident. Reportedly, his phone was also snatched and he snitched to the police, later making the following statement to the media: “This is the result of the total hegemonic control by the Left and their visceral hatred and disdain for the traditional American nation-state and self righteous disgust that anyone would dissent from this or hold to an opinion that is contrary to theirs.”

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At one point, his Facebook intro read “‘Racist’ is an anti-white racial slur. Men and women are different. People are not equal. #Trump2016.” He follows Alt-Right podcasts such as Right On Radio and The Weekly Narrative.

jack palkovic alt right radio jack palkovic

jpfb1jpfb3jpfb2Note Ancap Pepe’s comment.  This is Angelo Valle (see below)

Jack, along with other members of BCR such as Angelo Valle, showed up to an anti-Trump demonstration in Berkeley following the election in November with hopes of documenting and harassing demonstrators. They failed.

Angelo Valle

Social media: https://www.facebook.com/angelo.valle.96

https://www.facebook.com/anarchocapitalist.pepe

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Angelo changed the Facebook URL of his “anonymous” pepe account above while we were researching for this article. The original URL contained his real name, making it obvious it was him. We actually found the pepe account first and then were able to find his personal account through his poor choice of shortcut URL.

Unlike the other members of BCR, Angelo is a student at Berkeley City College, a community college located a very short walk away from the UC Berkeley campus. Again, looking at his social media shows you the kind of world Angelo wishes to live in. He likes and shares memes from pages such as Fash the Nation, The Daily Stormer, Europe Rising, and so on. Angelo has expressed interest in ethno-nationalism and has been considering applying to join Identity Evropa.

This is where Angelo works:
Mom Chairs and Table Rental
2390 Mission St Ste 106
San Francisco, California
(415) 756-3971
www.momchairs.com/

Claire Ciara

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/clairechiara

https://www.facebook.com/chiaraforassembly/

https://twitter.com/claireachiara

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Claire is Executive Vice President of BCR studying Political Science and Economics at Cal. You may already know of her as the youngest delegate at the GOP’s 2016 convention where she supported Trump or from her failed run for California State Assembly in the 2016 elections. Going forward, we’ll all know her as Vice President of a college Republican club incubating a growing fascist movement under the Trump regime.

UC Berkeley’s Response

The university, through spokesman Dan Mogulof, has tried to stay out of this issue as much as it possibly can. While citing an obligation to uphold free speech and ensuring that the administration can’t and won’t withdraw the invitation to Yiannopoulos, Mogulof has also repeatedly claimed that the views we all anticipate to be expressed on February 1st won’t reflect the views of the university. Many have already pointed out Mogulof’s hypocrisy and inconsistency when it comes to free speech. Just last semester at UC Berkeley, a student-led course about Palestine was cancelled by the administration explicitly because of course content. Not once did Dan Mogulof tirelessly defend the free speech of these students as he is now for BCR and Milo Yiannopoulos. Also curious is the fact that Mogulof, the university, and those funding UC Berkeley would be concerned about this class on Palestine due to how the state of Israel may be depicted, and yet they are silent about the Neo-Nazis organizing and spreading white supremacist propaganda all over the campus and the city of Berkeley. To see a map of places where Identity Evropa material has appeared, go here.

To also boil down the issue to one of “free speech,” as if every group, organization, person, and idea has equal access at UC Berkeley is to believe that UC Berkeley is a neutral organization – which it is of course not. Since its creation, UC Berkeley has been a training ground for the technocrats of the future, helping to design weapons and train hedge fund managers. It has used its police to crush everything from anti-Apartheid demonstrators to those that sought to defend People’s Park. It is one of the biggest vehicles of displacement, development, and gentrification in Berkeley, and moreover exists by exploiting a vast pool of low-paid service workers (largely of color) and generates massive amounts of revenue through high tuition and student fees. If anything, Milo fits in perfectly with UC Berkeley, as they are both well dressed, highly connected, and well educated entities which serve the interests of elites.

While not every member of BCR seems to be directly connected with Alt-Right politics, at the same time, they are still involved in promoting a political party that holds the most reactionary, racist, and ecocidal platform in history. While the institutional Left of Berkeley and the wider bay area, which has a stranglehold on the region, deserves no free pass, nor do the Republicans, as one of the two managers of the plantation that is America. The white nationalists at its edges of this system are just the crystallization of the larger politics that has been mainstreamed under Trump; that white supremacy needs to be strengthened in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and other popular struggles from below.

BCR and similar college groups around the country help create ripe conditions for far-right politics to emerge and grow, and it is through groups like BCR that the Alt-Right and fascist groups plan to mainstream themselves. While some leaders in the Alt-Right scene such as Matthew Heimbach have started white student unions to organize white supremacist college students, these groups haven’t really been able to materialize. On the other hand, Nathan Damigo and other wannabe fascist dictators have advocated for an infiltration of college republican groups, waiting until they have a critical mass to come out as full-blown Neo-Nazis. This will start to get easier for them as the GOP is being transformed into the party of Trump. Milo’s planned visit on February 1st is just another opportunity for organizing and spreading these violent and oppressive politics. We should not allow the red hats of today to become a modern version of the brown shirts. Universities and college campuses should be seen as critical sites of contention between anti-racists/anti-fascists and the growing Alt-Right, and they must be defended as anti-fascist zones.

It’s up to all of us to realize that both the auxiliary force to the State of the white nationalist Alt-Right, it’s ‘hipster’ reactionary talking heads like Milo, and the ‘respectable’ Republican party they seek to influence and defend, are all our enemies. Let’s start treating them as such and organize accordingly.

Contact BCR Here! No Alt-Right Fascists on Campus!
http://www.berkeleycollegerepublicans.com
BerkeleyCRs@icloud.com
https://www.facebook.com/berkeleycollegerepublicans/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/BerkeleyGOP/
https://twitter.com/berkeleycrs
https://www.instagram.com/berkeleycollegerepublicans/

Notes:

[1] Show up to shut down BCR’s Milo event on February 1 here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1788928531432955/

[2] The person behind the “Straight Liberation Movement” in Berkeley is Nicholas Frabasilio, who assaulted an 11-year old boy in 2013.

[3] For more information on Nathan Damigo and his fascist group Identity Evropa, which recruits students at UC Berkeley and other colleges across the country, see previous posts at Northern California Anti-Racist Action (NoCARA).

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