Who stood to gain from the violence?
The leftie protesters certainly didn’t, they were unwittingly and innocently caught in the crossfire. The violence was perpetrated by a highly organized group who were coordinated, wearing uniforms and carrying weapons (fireworks and rocks) designed to cause maximum disruption and incite clashes with police. Wasn’t this, in fact, exactly what the event organizers were after?
Nobody really wanted to, or expected to, sit around and listen to some vacuous neo-Nazi spewing racist filth. The organizers are UC Berkeley students, whatever their politics, surely a couple of hours of infantile name calling of various minority groups is beneath their intellectual taste. The whole point was to provoke a protest and make it look as if their first amendment rights were being attacked by an intolerant and hypocritical left. This wasn’t a one off, the same thing had already happened in several places. It was entirely predictable, and that presented an opportunity.
But regular protests fly under the radar in the era of Trump. And UC Berkeley didn’t swallow the bait, going out of their way to allow the event to go ahead. It needed to be ramped up into something a bit special. And where better than the crucible of free speech and so many famous protests?
The strength of the alt-right hierarchy is in its ability to manipulate the disaffected man-on-the-street. Would it surprise anyone to find that they had a hand in this coordinated infiltration of the protest? It played directly into their hands, and very much against everybody else’s. Just as they use the alt-right base’s racism to manipulate them, they can use the anarchist’s nihilism to manipulate them. This is what they do. They don’t care what the pawns think, only how that allows them to be manipulated. The stolen psychographics tools used by Cambridge Analytica (Bannon is a major stakeholder) can identify, by analyzing social media data etc., anyone’s affiliation to political groups, propensity to be suckered by certain types of fake news and hate sites, and character weaknesses that can be exploited to manipulate them. This is the tool that allows highly personalized propaganda to be targetted into social media feeds that swing elections.
It’s straight out of Josef Goebbels’ playbook:
“There was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyways always yield to the stronger, and this will always be ‘the man in the street.’ Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology.”
This is how come Bannon is now de facto president of the USA and sits, with no qualifications or experience (or votes), on the Security Council; throwing rocks and fireworks into the Middle East.
It worked well. Look at people on the right’s initial FB reaction: They blamed ‘liberal students’, complained about free speech and called out the hypocrisy. They’re still hopping mad – not because of the free speech thing, they’re over that – but because they couldn’t get the dirt to stick to those damn PC liberals. People on the left found themselves defending this neo-Nazi’s right to hate speech. Either those damn anarchists accidentally scored an unexplainably well coordinated own goal and turned up the volume on what would otherwise have been an insipid non-event, or they were manipulated by the same machine that brought us – entirely against our own interests – Trump, Brexit, the rise of the Front Nationale, alternative facts, gag orders across several branches of government, the wall, the Muslim ban, a movement to collapse the EEC, and the rise of several far right movements in Europe.