The president of the Berkeley College Republicans has issued an open challenge to any member of Berkeley Antifa to debate them, with “any communist of socialist” moderator that they desire.
Troy Worden, president of the Berkeley CR chapter issued the challenge during a speech on Sunday.
“I would like to conclude my speech with a challenge, not to any of you, but to Berkeley Antifa,” Worden said. “I challenge you, Antifa, to participate in a debate with the Berkeley College Republicans. We can make it a safe space for you. We can have a neutral moderator — you can choose a communist or socialist professor of your choice to moderate the debate. Instead of attacking us, instead of terrorizing people like me, let’s sit down and have a discussion.”
Worden added, “I’m looking at you Berkeley Antifa, speak with us or don’t — it’s your choice. This is a free country.”
The University of California at Berkeley has been at the center of the battle for free speech on college campuses, as violent leftist have repeatedly prevented right-wing speakers from being able to share their ideas.
UC Berkeley was once known for the Free Speech Movement born on its campus in 1964, when students rallied together to demand that the administration lift a long held ban on-campus political activities.
In February, militant leftists violently shut down a Yiannopoulos speaking event at the university by throwing a firebomb, physically assaulting event attendees, looting a Starbucks, and vandalizing the area. It was estimated that the rioters caused over $500,000 in damage to the surrounding area.
On March 4, free speech activists held an event in the area called the “March 4 Trump.” Multiple people were injured as members of Antifa violently attacked those in attendance, including an elderly man who was pepper sprayed, and vandalized surrounding businesses.
In April, chaos erupted in the city as anarchists dressed in black bloc attire aimed to shut down a pro-free speech rally dubbed “Patriot’s Day.” The militant leftists threw bottles, M80s, and other instruments of riots into the crowd primarily consisting of Trump supporters.
Since then, there have been multiple clashes between the right, and those who care about free speech — and the left, who have been employing black bloc tactics. The threats of violence continued to be so great that an Ann Coulter speech on campus had to be cancelled.
Black bloc is a common tactic used by anarchists to make it more difficult to identify violent protesters and rioters for prosecution or civil claims. The goal is to make one person nearly indistinguishable from the next so that they can disappear in the crowd. The tactic has been used throughout the world for decades, but its first documented use in the US was at a protest against the support of “right-wing death squads” in El Salvador outside the Pentagon in 1988.