Op-ed: Shutting down Milo Yiannopoulos was the right thing to do

Milo Yiannopoulos is a high-level operative in Trump’s fascist regime and is working on the Nazification of American universities.

On the evening of February 1st, fascist operative Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak and do his organizing at UC Berkeley. Instead, 4,000 to 5,000 students* and others protested the event, shutting it down. From the perspective of what is good for humanity, this was the right thing to do.

Since then, Donald Trump has threatened to defund UC Berkeley. Berkeley Mayor Arreguín made a statement against Milo and was hit with an avalanche of death threats. And nearly every major media outlet has distorted or decried this protest. These and other attacks are outrageous and should be opposed.

To be clear, the real question here is not “free speech” or not. The heart of the matter is that the Trump administration is a fascist regime now in power, and Milo Yiannopoulos is a high-level operative of that regime, actively working on the Nazification of the American University.

First off, Milo is not just expressing opinions at these events, and he’s certainly not challenging some stifling political expectations as he claims. Frankly, a good portion of what he does is insult people’s appearance and intelligence, marginalized people in particular. His history is also rife with instances where he targeted people, and encouraging others to harass, stalk, and threaten.

Most importantly, Milo is an actual fascist operative working on the fascist Trump-Pence agenda. He is a senior editor for the extreme right-wing rag Breitbart, run until recently by Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon now holds a special position on the National Security Council! At the University of New Mexico, at the culmination of his event, Yiannopoulos posted the ICE phone number and called on the audience to write it down and “Purge Your Local Illegals;” he told them to call the number “if you suspect” someone to be an “illegal alien.” Teaming up with David Horowitz – who has a long record of targeting, blacklisting, and aiming to get fired radical-minded professors – Milo Yiannopoulos is explicitly working to end sanctuary campuses nationwide.

Trump and his gang of criminals threaten the press, declare the court system illegitimate if they oppose him, and threaten or fire entire staffs of people for speaking out against him. That is the regime that Milo Yiannopoulos is working for and constantly praising. Milo’s tour is part of this: a whole fascist assault on critical thinking and dissent, that is coming down at breakneck speed. Fascism is about hiding or denying the facts and crushing the opposition, because carrying out a fascist program goes against facts, and what most people think is good for the world. This is how they prepare their supporters to do their terrible deeds.

From the perspective of the fascist, universities are a real problem spot, since they mainly encourage critical thinking, research, and the exploration of different views. That’s why Yiannopoulos & Horowitz are focusing on the campuses, and why Trump wholeheartedly supports their campaign.

All this is why the protest at UC Berkeley was exactly the kind of mass resistance that needs to happen everywhere, on an unprecedented scale, to actually drive out the Trump-Pence regime. If you care about critical thinking, the right to dissent, and the pursuit of knowledge, science, or truth – you should defend & support this much-needed protest. If you stand on the side of humanity and the planet, you should stand on the side of all those who shut down Milo Yiannopoulos at Cal.

(Editor’s note: The UC police department estimated there were 1,500 protesters, not 4,000 to 5,000.)

Reiko Redmonde is the manager of Revolution Books in Berkeley and was present at the protest at Cal.