Friday, August 25, 2017


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Right-wing rallies in SF and Berkeley

From The Hate Report
[update: apparently the Crissy Field demo has been cancelled]

This weekend, there will be at least two right-wing rallies in the San Francisco Bay Area that are expected to draw thousands of protesters and counterprotesters.

Coming so soon after the deadly protests in Charlottesville, it is tempting to place these two California rallies in the same category as the Virginia rally: shows of force by white nationalist agitators in liberal communities.

But in key ways, the planned protests in San Francisco and Berkeley are, at least on their face, significantly different to the “Unite the Right” rally that brought hundreds of American racists to downtown Charlottesville.

Unlike the Charlottesville rally, which was always about race politics, the organizers of the “Freedom Rally,” planned for Crissy Field on Saturday, and a protest called “No to Marxism in America” planned for Berkeley on Sunday, have both taken pains to tell white supremacists and other extremists that they’re not welcome at their events.

The Berkeley event has been organized by Amber Cummings, a self-described “trans patriot.” On the Facebook page for the rally, Cummings writes, “I do not invite or condone anyone showing up to this event with the intent of starting violence. I also want to add I do not stand with any racist groups like the KKK, Neo Nazis, or any form of racist groups."

In an interview this week, Joey Gibson, the organizer of the San Francisco event, claimed the day will be about peace, love and exercising First Amendment rights. He said the “Freedom Rally” has been planned since long before Charlottesville, and that racists will be turned away from Crissy Field (he didn’t elaborate on how this would happen). And he pointed out that the Facebook page for the rally specifically requests that known white nationalist agitators Richard Spencer and Nathan Damigo don’t show up. (Spencer told us by text message that he hadn’t heard about the event. He said that it “sounds pretty corny.”)

“I don’t want them there because they’re extremists and they’re purposefully trying to tear apart this country, just like antifa, just like the communists,” Gibson said, referring to anti-fascist protesters who have shown up in force at previous rallies in the Bay Area. “I’m sick of the extremists on both side trying to tear apart the moderates”...

Rob's comment:
It will be easy for people to over-react to these demos---and to label anyone, especially those on the political right, who disagrees with them as indulging in "hate speech."

The editor of Berkeley's Daily Planet makes a valiant effort to get it right, though it's odd to capitalize "white":

As the old joke has it, two Jews, three opinions. Here, it’s five Berkeleyans, 50 opinions. The question of the appropriate response to the upcoming visitations has been endlessly debated in the arenas of choice, which includes list-servs maintained by progressive organizations, Facebook, the UC student newspaper and various online news sites like the Berkeley Daily Planet and berkeleyside.com.

The writers seem to sort out into a few repetitive groups. First out of the gate was the idea that Berkeley’s city government should somehow ban what’s called “hate speech” within the city limits. That happens to be a particular bugaboo of mine, since the Planet was unfairly chastised at enormous length by a few people who mistakenly believed themselves to be friends of Israel. Let’s just say it’s a slippery slope...

...for those of us who came up in the civil rights movement, staying silent in the face of what looks a lot like Fascism seems to be what’s dangerous.

Especially with the recent addition of blatant White supremacy to the Trumpist armory, it’s incumbent on those of us who are White to do what my young African American friends call “represent”---to speak truth to power, as my Quaker friends would say. I don’t need to tell African-Americans what to do.

I won’t even waste the pixels to talk about what a dumb idea it is to show up with sticks and shields as some self-styled Antifas like to do. But silence gives consent, so the rest of us should speak up, literally or symbolically, albeit non-violently...

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In a review of Richard Florida’s recent book, The New Urban Crisis, left-wing writer Sam Wetherell says that cities that have followed Florida’s “creative class” prescriptions “are becoming gated communities” for the rich, “or at least the college-educated children of the rich.” They suffer from increased inequality, gentrification pushing the poor out to the suburbs, and a disappearing middle class...

Florida certainly admits that the “superstar” cities he favors have “increasingly unaffordable housing prices and staggering levels of inequality.” He points out that, 40 years ago, New York City was quite affordable (as were San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles). 

He even cites Matthew Rognlie's research showing that unaffordable housing is the primary cause of growing inequality. But Florida never comes close to saying that any of his prescriptions have made housing unaffordable or increased inequality...

...Florida loves to point out how successful his “creative class” cities have become. “Just six metro areas–--the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Boston, Washington, DC, San Diego, and London–--attract nearly half of all high-tech venture capital across the entire world.” 

But he may be confusing cause and effect. It is likely that cities that attract this capital also attract the people who give the cities a high “Bohemian” index, not that the density and other factors that Florida favors are what attracted the venture capital.

Neither San Diego nor San Jose really meet Florida’s ideas of what a city should look like. Neither have really dense downtowns and their transit systems are little more than show pieces that few people use. Fifty years ago, they were the epitome of sprawl. 

San Jose got rich because of its proximity to Stanford University, and the urban-growth boundaries it adopted in the mid-1970s made the area dense. While overall densities today are high, those densities are spread out, not concentrated like San Francisco or Manhattan.

It is really hard to say San Diego and San Jose have anything in common with New York and San Francisco except that all of them have adopted policies that made housing expensive and pushed out the poor. 

There is no better way to increase average incomes than to exclude low-income people from the average...

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climatechange-titanic.jpg
Daily Kos

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