The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Bay Area’s non-violent anarchists are worried that the violent tactics used by “Black bloc” activists to disrupt Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulous’s appearance at the University of California, Berkeley last week will cause the anti-Trump protest movement to lose credibility, as Occupy Wall Street protests did in 2011.
The Chronicle notes:
Their biggest fear is a repeat of what happened to Occupy earlier this decade, when black bloc violence chased away nonviolent, mainstream protesters — and helped lead to Occupy’s collapse about five years ago.
“That stuff that happened at UC Berkeley with the black bloc was just nuts, doesn’t help,” said longtime protester Buck Bagot, who helped organize the Occupy movement in San Francisco and has been mobilizing demonstrations against Trump. “People need to make sure this incredibly negative, destructive element isn’t there in what we do this time.”
Its adherents saw Occupy as a wake-up call against income inequality. But many of them say Occupy fell short of being more than that, partly because violent anarchists came to be the bandanna-obscured face of the movement to the broader public.
The Occupy Wall Street and Occupy protests took over public spaces for several weeks, throughout the country and abroad. Activists — and not just “Black bloc” members — often sought confrontations with police. Some did so as a deliberate tactic to gain public attention and sympathy through police overreaction.
The encampments, which excluded law enforcement, soon became rife with lawlessness, including a pattern of sexual assaults. While most protesters were peaceful, others were not, and the violent contingent went far beyond the “Black bloc.”
President Barack Obama and his party supported the Occupy movement, and the media was broadly sympathetic. Violence and lawlessness turned public opinion decisively against the protests, which also proved unsustainable as the onset of winter made camping outside intolerable in most cities.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.