Whatever strain of madness infected the student body at Berkeley seems to have spread to the faculty.
Respected liberal academic Robert Reich joined CNN’s Don Lemon, where he intimated that the violent attacks on students were all a clever ruse organized by a vast right-wing conspiracy(where have we heard that one before?)
“I was there for part of last night, and I know what I saw and those people were not Berkeley students,” Reich said. “Those people were outside agitators. I have never seen them before.”
“There’s rumors that they actually were right-wingers. They were a part of a kind of group that was organized and ready to create the kind of tumult and danger you saw that forced the police to cancel the event,” Reich insisted. “So Donald Trump, when he says Berkeley doesn’t respect free speech rights, that’s a complete distortion of the truth.”
“You think it’s a strategy by [Milo Yiannopoulos] or right-wingers?” asked host Don Lemon.
“I wouldn’t bet against it,” Reich said. “I saw these people. They all looked very– almost paramilitary. They were not from the campus. I don’t want to say factually, but I’ve heard there was some relationship here between these people and the right-wing movement that is affiliated with Breitbart News.”
He didn’t blame Russia, so that’s a change of pace.
It should go without saying, but Reich’s claim is easily refutable. The violence was carried out by so called Black Bloc anarchists, the same class of characters that invaded D.C. for Trump’s inauguration and tore apart Seattle over a decade ago. As USA Today explains:
The protest’s organizers, the Berkeley Against Trump coalition, said the peaceful acts of the 1,500 demonstrators were marred by 50 to 75 anti-fascist Black Bloc protestors.
Outside of Berkeley, media outlets have linked Black Blocs to a number of modern protests, most recently in efforts opposing President Donald Trump. The Nation credits a Black Bloc protestor with punching alt-right leader Richard Spencer in the face on Trump’s inauguration day. The Washington Post said Black Blocs were involved with violent protests in Washington, D.C. on inauguration day and in Portland following Trump’s election win.
On Wednesday, Twitter users used the term in describing the protesters at Berkeley.
Berkeley publications have supported this claim, noting that black bloc protests are a part of life in the crunchy community. Whether or not Berkeley students were actually involved in the looting and destruction remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: There is absolutely zero evidence to suggest that right-wing groups were involved in any way whatsoever, and Reich sounds as crazy as conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.