Berkeley Republicans Hope More Left-Wing Riots Will Create "Pedestal" For Conservative Movement

Fang, Lee
Date Written:  2017-09-11
Publisher:  The Intercept
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21255

The students hosting conservative pundit Ben Shapiro at University of California, Berkeley this week say their fingers are crossed in the hopes for a left-wing protest that could amplify his message.



Shapiro is a firebrand right-wing pundit, who denounces the "alt-right," a far-right movement grounded in white supremacy, as anti-Semitic. Yet Shapiro provokes the ire of campus liberals by mocking what he calls excesses of political correctness; he’s known for his bigoted tirades against Muslims and transgender people.

Conservative student groups have long used provocative demonstrations and incendiary speakers to gain attention for their cause. The Young America's Foundation, a conservative group closely affiliated with the Republican Party, provided the $9,162 security fee for the Shapiro event this week. YAF spends over $8 million a year on campus activism, including efforts to bring conservative speakers to college campuses -- while filming and publicizing left-wing demonstrators to cast them as extremist.

The Leadership Institute, another GOP-aligned foundation that provides grants and funding to campus conservatives, makes the strategy explicit in its instructional materials. One Leadership Institute video explains how radical labor organizer Saul Alinsky's strategies can be adopted for conservatives, including an effort to seize upon left-wing violence. The video shows how a 2009 anti-immigration speech by former Rep. Tom Tancredo at the University of North Carolina was interrupted by a brick thrown through the window. The violent act was filmed by a conservative student, which went viral on social media and gained mainstream media attention condemning the act.

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